Visible Women

Ariana Grande speaks out about the Manchester bombing for the first time

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Moya Crockett
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The singer has given her first detailed interview since 22 people were killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack on 22 May 2017. 

It’s been almost a year since a bomb was detonated at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, killing 22 people and wounding more than 800. In the intervening months, the singer has – understandably – kept a relatively low profile. She sprang into action immediately following the attack, organising an extraordinary benefit concert in just two weeks that raised more than £10million for the victims and their families. Then she finished her world tour. And then, quietly and legitimately, she took herself out of the spotlight.

Now, Grande has given her first extended interview since the Manchester bombing. Speaking to Time magazine, Grande said it would “take forever” for her to come to terms with her grief about what happened.

“Music is supposed to be the safest thing in the world. I think that’s why [the attack is] still so heavy on my heart every single day,” she said.

“I wish there was more that I could fix. You think with time it’ll become easier to talk about. Or you’ll make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it’s still very painful.”

Ariana Grande on stage at the One Love Manchester concert

Grande explained that she is reluctant to discuss her memories of the attack itself, because she doesn’t want people to focus on the actions of the terrorist. In part, this was what drove her to organise the One Love Manchester concert in aid of the victims and their families.

“I don’t want to give [the attack] that much power,” she says. “Something so negative. It’s the absolute worst of humanity. 

“That’s why I did my best to react the way I did. The last thing I would ever want is for my fans to see something like that happen and think it won.”

She added that she doesn’t want her suffering to be perceived as more significant than that of people who were injured or lost loved ones in the bombing: “There are so many people who have suffered such loss and pain.” 

In the wake of the attack, Grande and members of her crew got bee tattoos, like thousands of people in Manchester (the worker bee is a longstanding symbol for the city, a nod to its industrial, hardworking heritage). A bee is also incorporated into her latest music video: it’s seen buzzing out of frame, right at the very end.

The singer said she has been spending more time in therapy, which has helped her process her emotions about the attack. She had previously struggled with anxiety, but “never opened up about it, because I thought that was how life was supposed to feel”.

In June 2017, Grande was made an honorary citizen of Manchester. Sir Richard Leese, Greater Manchester’s council leader, said at the time: “We’ve all had cause to be incredibly proud of Manchester and the resilient and compassionate way in which the city, and all those associated with it, have responded to the terrible events of 22 May – with love and courage rather than hatred and fear.

“Ariana Grande has exemplified this response.”

Stylist’s Visible Women campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of women who’ve made a difference, celebrating their success, and empowering future generations to follow their lead. See more from Visible Women here.  

Images: Getty Images