Ariana Grande accused of plagiarizing and appropriating for ‘7 Rings’

Ariana Grande dropped the 7 Rings video last week. That’s below. Kaiser asked me if I felt like covering it, since I usually stan for Ari, but I said no. The song sounded derivative to me, some of the lyrics reminded me of Cardi B (does everyone have to rap about Louboutins?) and Ari did this weak sing-song rapping. I just wasn’t in love with the song, the lyrics or the video. I know it’s a thing to “floss” or brag about how rich you are and how much sh-t you can buy, but that’s done to death and it didn’t stand out to me. Go ahead and call me out of touch! Here’s the video:

It turns out that the song wasn’t original at all. A rapper named Princess Nokia recorded a video to Instagram playing “7 Rings” with the hook “I want it, I got it. You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it,” and then her song, “Mine,” which came out in 2017 and features the hook “It’s mine, I bought it.” Mine is about black women’s hair, owning your hair and dealing with rude questions and people trying to touch it. Nokia’s video and tweet about this have since been taken down, I would assume after legal threats from Ari’s team (all they have to do is issue a copyright infringement, right? This is just an assumption) so here’s a YouTube version.

The two songs don’t sound close to me but the lyrics definitely do. This particular lyric similarity may not be Ariana’s “fault” at all, she surely works with a team of producers and it’s possible someone heard this song, totally forgot about it, and jacked the lyrics without realizing it. I do wonder if she’s going to address it at all or if she’ll stay quiet, likely on the advice of her legal team. I don’t know what the answer is to this but I also don’t think Princess Nokia has the means to sue Ariana for this similarity. It’s not easy to get into a whole legal battle over copyright issues, especially with someone with Ariana’s resources, unless you have a lot to gamble.

People are also saying that 7 Rings sounds like Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag” and that the video aesthetic is way too similar to 2 Chainz’s “Pink Trap House.” Holy crap I really hear the Pretty Boy Swag similarity. Both of those are below. [via Dazed Digital]

Ari has been accused many times of blackfishing, which is pretending to be black and appropriating black culture for personal gain. I really see her doing that with these lyrics about buying her hair.

Also, she posted a very questionable Instagram story (update: she reposted someone else’s story, this didn’t originate with her) claiming that “White women talking about their weaves is how we’re gonna solve racism.” WTF? So dumb, clueless and offensive. Then she followed up with a comment trying to explain herself. She apologized but it was an “if” apology, not a straight apology. The original post was really bad and she needs to step back for a while. She really is appropriating and thinking it’s ok and justified. This is her thought process.

Here’s Princess Nokia’s Mine live

Some tweets: [via Teen Vogue, Fox News]

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watching ourselves

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68 Responses to “Ariana Grande accused of plagiarizing and appropriating for ‘7 Rings’”

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  1. Tweetime says:

    To be clear, Ariana didn’t write the Instagram story about talking about her weave solving racism, she re-posted a story by Aminatou Sow and I believe that comment was hers (correct me if I’m wrong).

    • Miles says:

      That is correct. However she still posted it so I don’t get why it makes a difference if she said it or if someone else said it. By posting it, she’s just co-signing what was said.

      • Tweetime says:

        I was taking it as a tongue-in-cheek remark made by a WOC who is well known as a Democratic supporter and fighter for feminism and anti-racism, so I didn’t really get offended by it because I don’t believe Aminatou actually thinks white women talking about their weaves will solve racism.
        I’m very open to dissenting opinions on that though.

      • Miles says:

        It’s not about what Aminatou thinks. It’s anout what Ariana, who posted it thinks. Judging by Ariana’s response to the post, she clearly doesn’t get it and doesn’t get why her posting it would be seen as a problem. Now couple that with everything else that Ariana does, and the picture should be getting more clear for you.

      • Tweetime says:

        Zero need to talk down to me; I stated I was open to a conversation on it.
        I’m not down with the song or with Ariana appropriating from other cultures (and I’m also over the culture of bragging about rampant capitalism), I was making a point about the original comment since it was being attributed to Ariana instead of the educated, joking person who actually said it.
        I’m not flipping about Ariana re-posting it because she re-posted tons of Instagram stories that were praising the song and this was just one of them – I didn’t take it as a co-sign but rather as a “thanks for liking the song”.
        For those who do see it as a co-sign, I understand why they’re not cool with it. I was pointing out a misattribution, which is relevant. No need to be rude to me about it.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Ok I’ll fix that thanks for the clarification!

  2. Kittycat says:

    Isnt this song about Arianna buying 7 overpriced Engagement rings for her friends?

    Its already stupid.

  3. Roux says:

    The bigger issue here seems to be that it’s still ok to brag about how much you have. Maybe it’s just me but I think that’s really insensitive. Sure they may have worked for it but there are plenty of people out there who work just as hard, or maybe even harder and are still struggling to make ends meet. I just think this bragging in music is super gross. Having stuff does not make you a better or more worthwhile person.

    • broodytrudy says:

      It’s tacky af. Especially to release during a govt shutdown when so many people fear being evicted and food stamps are at stake. Money can’t buy taste or manners. Yuck.

    • Tanesha86 says:

      The bigger issue FOR YOU. For PoC cultural appropriation isn’t some arbitrary thing. We are tired…

  4. Alexandria says:

    Pardon me for being superficial … but Princess Nokia is GORGEOUS!

  5. Cee says:

    She’s talked a lot about how damaged her hair got after dyeing it for years and she most certainly had to wear extensions/weaves because of it. She was mocked for her ponytail look and she had to explain WHY she’s stuck with that hair do for so many years. So even though she could have hijacked the lyrics, they do apply to her hair situation.

    • Grey says:

      Tight ponytails, weaves, and extensions damage your hair even more.

      • ash says:

        Right? As someone who has constantly bleached and dyed their hair, ponytails hurt even more and accentuates the damage. Clearly a fake excuse. Wish she would just own up to her hairstyle. Who cares if she wants a signature look.

      • minx says:

        Thank you. Saying that she “has” to wear the long ponytail is BS. There are other hairstyles!

      • Cee says:

        Her ponytail is a weave or however you call that in english.

    • Some chick says:

      She does buy her hair. I don’t see how that’s blackfishing. Many women do it.
      That said, songs about being rich are terrible. The only thing worse is the violent songs.

  6. Jessica says:

    I used to like her, not so much these days. I feel for her because of all the tragedy she has experienced, but sympathy for me no longer means being the fan that I once was. She is a swagger jacker like many big artists who get away with stealing from lesser known artists because they know their stans will ride in with their capes on to the rescue. The writers/producers who work with these big artists are well aware of what’s going on in non-mainstream music. It’s their passion and their job. Her stans saying she probably doesn’t even know who Princess Nokia is are delusional. People like her and the producers and writers around her aren’t just listening to what’s at the top of at the charts. Innovation comes from independent and underground music, not from the charts. They all know that. Every tastemaker knows that.

    ONTD had a good post this weekend about her extremely dark spray tan, use of AAVE, the affected mannerisms that she turns off and on depending on her environment/audience, and it did not add up to a pretty picture. Her stans attack anyone who accuses her of blackfishing/blackfacing/brownfacing, but there is absolutely something to it. I think those who don’t see it are being willfully blind because they like her and don’t want to feel like they’re no longer allowed to like her.

    This “7 Rings” song/video made me laugh and roll my eyes. The people who tried to hype her up as the “new Rihanna” really got into her head and made her believe it.

    Her vocal talent is undeniable to me but she is too overexposed these days. There are a lot of other people I wish had her career, like Tinashe for one. I hope Normani blows up big this year.

    • B says:

      That was a long post

    • Snowflake says:

      Yeah, I agree w you. I noticed the really dark tan and was like what is she doing? Imo, she’s trying to play like she’s some girl from the streets but she is from Boca Raton and i think her family has money. That’s a rich area. I’ve never been a big fan, it irks me when girls play the baby routine. It’s like bitc h, you’re almost 30!

      • Anna says:

        Umm, not gonna lie, I was watching this video and kind of assumed she’s a WOC. Like, the dark tan, the line about “buying her hair”…

        I definitely think Ariana WANTS people to think that who don’t know much about her. 100% intentional.

      • Ama says:

        She is tacky!!!

    • ash says:

      I saw a video on twitter where she talks pre this weird blaccent and post and jesus it’s so obvious it’s put on, not to mention her skin colour are complete polar opposites. She’s fake and trying to profit off poc. It’s cool to be ethnically ambiguous but only if you’re really white, not a poc !!!

    • Aren says:

      It really angers me when big names plagiarize. The companies earn millions (billions?), with these products, and they can’t hire somebody with at least a bit of talent to create something original?

    • BorderMollie says:

      Couldn’t agree more, especially about the overexposed part. Her fandom is especially toxic, and while that’s not totally her fault, I wish she’d put a blanket over the flames from time to time.

    • BB says:

      That’s the truth. And the vocal minstrelsy too. Listen, we get on Iggy Azalea’s behind for appropriation, but no one wants to talk about the fact that a lot of white SINGERS are imitating black vocalists and going home with all the attention, accolades, and wealth. I know it’s hard to hear because some people think it’s not a big deal or even important, but it is. This is a legacy of the music industry’s bigoted practices.

  7. Britney says:

    The whole weave situation reminds me of that Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner.

  8. Bebe says:

    I was just wondering the other day why she is given such a pass on her cultural appropriation-y antics.

    • Millennial says:

      I’ve always wondered that, too. She really gets a pass for brown-facing it seems.

      • me says:

        You’d be surprised at how many people out there think she’s Latina.

      • Millennial says:

        Its funny you mention that because I legit assumed she was Latina or Hispanic until I saw a story that had a photo from her Disney days. The excessive bronzer/self tan really give off the vibe that she’s trying to sell herself as a POC.

      • Anna says:

        I mentioned this elsewhere on this thread, but I don’t follow her that much and totally thought she’s a WOC after watching this video. I definitely think she’s intentionally leading people to think that.

      • Lilian says:

        Are you saying only black women wear weaves/wigs?

      • Some chick says:

        She is Italian. She’s always said so.

    • horseandhound says:

      people should be allowed to do what they want with themselves. celebitchy world is always saying nobody has the right to police your body. I think she looks terrible with the shade she chose, but it’s still her decision whether she wants to be darker or lighter.

  9. Velie says:

    How very Kardashian of her. She is a culture vulture, period.

  10. Nikki says:

    The bigger issue here is the horrible song and tackiness of the lyrics/message. I understand that she has a lot of money, but hey! Maybe I’m ‘too out of touch’ like Kaiser said! I’m not a fan of these type of songs…but in any case, girl…ENUNCIATE!!

    • mia girl says:

      I can’t listen to her songs because the woman does not enunciate! She’s mumbling half the time.

      I don’t understand why she sings like that. It drives me bananas.

  11. Sophia says:

    Isn’t it based on my favourite things? Which loads of songs have referenced in the past
    Also reminds me of this, which came out in the UK at least 15 years ago…

  12. styla says:

    Im gonna sue the next person who says good morning to me. I said that first.

  13. Pretty Hate Machine says:

    Is no one here going to point out that she’s also sampling from Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things? Let’s cover all the bases.

    • Lydia says:

      Yes! Thank you. This was the only similar melody that popped into my head.

    • Kebbie says:

      I think that just kind of goes without saying. Obviously she’s sampling My Favorite Things, everyone knows that. The other parts she isn’t sampling, just stealing.

  14. ash says:

    This incident has completely brought her blackfishing to light (to me). She steals from black artists, has a blaccent, tans so people will mistake her for a poc (it’s not just a tan, it’s an intent to look ethnically ambiguous) and reaffirms this by actually believing her white girl act is empowering. It’s not.
    Her look pre this music “career” and post is lily white, white, italian girl in cutesy baby voice to dark tanned, altered features, changed voice, black “inspired” music.
    People genuinely think she’s a poc, that her skin tone is because she’s italian. There might be olive skinned italians but she isn’t one of them. Everything from her skin to her music is fake and stolen from black people.
    I just can’t support her.

    • me says:

      I think her very first music video was “Put Your Hearts Up”. Initially she was being sold as a “cutesy white girl with a bit of an orange spray tan”.

    • hkk says:

      Yes, I feel the same. So many people assume she is Latinx because of her last name. She is blackfishing and brownfishing. The fake tan and way of speaking need to stop.

    • Bruja says:

      The song was written by black women, some of whom were in the video with her. Her first album was written and produced by her mentor, Babyface. Is she really stealing from them? I know a hater of your degree can’t be convinced, and the conversations surrounding this are important, but I have to wonder why people are starting with Ariana when lyrical flexing, tanning, and aave (hers isn’t even that pronounced when compared to the average MALE white rapper) have been utilized by white artists for the better part of a century. I think people just dislike her because she’s overexposed.

      • ash says:

        Hi, yes they were written by black women but she is clearly singing the song as her experiences. She clearly steals her aesthetic from black woman, and obviously stole the concept of a trap house from 2Chainz.
        Calling me a hater to dismiss my valid criticism of her is truly so weak. Please pick some one better to stan (defend at all costs apparently, even when they’re clearly making questionable (RACIST) decisions. You can’t deny she’s presenting as a woc, picking woc writers to streamline their experiences in her fame, and she doesn’t even get it, i.e. her weak comeback in her baby voice to seem completely harmless
        Yes, I have a probably with male rappers doing the same thing but are any of them done in the magitude of ariana (fame wise and appearance wise. i can’t think of any white male who tans to look ethnically ambiguous.
        Please check this completely ignorant comment. Your defence of: hey other people do it toOOOO! is not a defence. It just means all of them should stop.

        PS. I thought I expressed in my og comment that I found out the huge discrepancies of how she presents herself via how she is and was disappointed in her. I can’t continue being a fan of anyone who is obviously racist. I know it’s hard to realise some-one you love has been making questionable and racist actions but it won’t help you to be completely blind to actions like this.

    • hunter says:

      I don’t generally watch Ariana’s videos but I follow her loosely through gossip sites like this one. This is the first time I’ve watched her and 100% thought ohhhh okay so she’s black now.

      And yes I know she’s white, but the clothes and way of dancing, etc – it’s all from hip hop culture on this.

  15. BANANIE says:

    She wrote STARIOTYPE??? Good lord. That’s just unbelievable.

  16. Otaku Fairy says:

    Even before the tanning people assumed she was Latina because of her last name. I’m not going to jump on the whole tanning/ hair dye etc. = blacface/ brownface / cultural appropriation bandwagon at all. Especially since people haven’t just started to do it with those who are only white, but with light skinned, white-passing, and mixed woc too. It’s a bit much- a skin tone or a hair color is not like a bindi, a hairstyle, being a white rapper (Eminem, Macklemore) donning a hijab as a fashion statement, twerking, wearing a headdress, etc.
    But I understand why this song is being called out. No matter what her intentions were, a white artist ripping off a song with this kind of theme is a pretty terrible look. Both the song and the video are pretty derivative.

  17. Ula says:

    She really needs to start using autocorrect… “Stariotype”? Ouch. It’s crazy that English is her first language.

  18. Kebbie says:

    The part where she says “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it” sounds exactly like Lil Flip’s “you see it, want it, buy it, own it” from his song I Can Do Dat to me. I wasn’t familiar with the other songs but I can see the similarities there too.

    I feel like all of her songs are like this though. They all sound like an amalgamation of other songs. I always feel like I’ve heard her songs somewhere else or they remind me of something else.

  19. L says:

    Go listen to Kali Uchis “Honey baby” and then Princess Nokia’s “Orange Blossom”.

    Princess Nokia didn’t take down her post bc of Ari, she took it down bc people started calling her out for being a music thief herself. The beat in “Mine” wasn’t even her’s to begin with, she stole it from a sample pack that was created by 2 other people. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  20. Marianne says:

    Is her singing/rapping about her buying her hair really that that original?

  21. Caity says:

    Popheads on reddit went deep on the princess Nokia issue. Turns out it’s the same sample pack from a producer, ari paid to use it. Princess Nokia didn’t, that’s why she took down the tweets.
    And the sound of music reference is called an interpolation and ari paid for that too.
    Idk enough about Soulja boy to comment on that.
    And I agree with the discussions that say she’s blackfishing. Her tan is ridiculous when she’s as pasty white as I am

  22. Cate says:

    I am a WOC. I just watched the video and found it rather revolting. Ariana is not my usual cup of tea nor is her style of music so perhaps I am a little biased. The song to me was a rip of My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music mixed with her awful rapping as to which I can’t say where that came from. Calling her female entourage “her bitches” so that she can “front” and appear like some bad ass to her male counterparts is definite cultural appropriation especially for some little Disney white girl. I also find it offensive that her speaking voice has an affected blaccent. I wish someone like Missy Elliot would set her straight.

  23. coffeeisgood says:

    When I heard the lyrics about buying her hair I definitely cringed, sounded very much like cultural appropriation to me