Who Would Benefit More From A Collaboration: Ariana Grande or BTS?

Ariana Grande and BTS to collab?
Ariana Grande | (Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photobank)

Ariana Grande and BTS are two of the biggest names in music. BTS is the first band since the Beatles to earn three Billboard No. 1 albums in a year. In February 2019, Grande became the first artist since the Beatles to have a song at the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 list. As a Korean group, BTS just started breaking into the mainstream music scene while Grande is an established global star. BTS has one of the largest fandoms in the world and regularly breaks streaming, YouTube, and box office records. If BTS and Grande collaborated, who would benefit more?

Ariana Grande and Jungkook from BTS have already met

Collaboration rumors began when Jungkook attended one of Ariana Grande’s concerts. After the show, he met Grande backstage and the two took a photo together. Jungkook later posted to BTS’s Twitter account that he enjoyed Grande’s show. After the meeting, fans of the two artists wondered if a collaboration between BTS and Grande was on the horizon. 

“i just need a Bts x Ariana collab,” said one Twitter user.

“.@ArianaGrande, do you realize how big a collab with you and BTS would be? the chart topping, show stopping performances, the #1 on billboard hot 100? the SALES???? lay back, relax, and think about it for a second,” asked a fan.

Some BTS fans are not wild about the idea of a collaboration. To them, BTS does not need to collaborate with more western artists to stay mainstream.

“arianators said Ariana is too good for bts to collab with her ……they can make her collab with whoever they want I dont care anymore…” wrote a fan.

Ariana Grande has been accused of cultural appropriation before

As Grande’s fame rose over the past year, so did her critics. One of the most notable criticisms Grande faced was cultural appropriation. Grande was accused of using “brownface” by darkening her skin through a fake tan and changing the vernacular she speaks to appear as another race.

Earlier in 2019, Grande was accused of appropriating Japanese culture by getting a tattoo in Japanese characters. While Grande thought she got “7 Rings” tattooed, the phrase was actually misspelled. The singer also used Japanese imagery to promote her album thank u, next. Even after she apologized for the tattoo and attempted to fix the translation, some were not happy with her response.

“Ariana Grande appropriates non-white cultures to be ‘sassy’ and ‘exotic.’ Yet once she’s called out she performs white woman victimhood…” wrote a Twitter user.

As a Korean group, BTS often faces xenophobia while touring and attending award shows abroad. If a collaboration were to occur, members of ARMY would not want BTS’s culture or race to be appropriated. There is a fine line between appreciation and appropriation, and if the collaboration was not handled correctly Grande could face more accusations of cultural appropriation. On the other hand, a collaboration would provide a chance for Grande to prove her critics wrong.

Both have global star power

Grande is very outspoken about her struggles with PTSD, depression, and anxiety following the Manchester Arena bombing and death of Mac Miller. In April 2019, Grande shared brain scans to show how her brain had changed due to her PTSD. The members of BTS are also honest with their fans about their struggles with mental health, and they are known for not shying away from showing the darker sides of the spotlight.

Due to their candidness, both Grande and BTS have large international fan bases. Their fans are dedicated and support the artists through their struggles. Because Grande and BTS are similar in the way they are open with fans, a collaboration could appeal to both fandoms. A collaboration between the two could be mutually beneficial and allow the artists to reach fans they normally would not encounter.