- On Friday, Ariana Grande debuted the music video for her new single, “Positions,” directed by Dave Meyers.
- The video imagines Grande as the President of the United States, gracefully balancing her personal life and political power.
- Members of Grande’s real-life inner circle make cameos as members of her imaginary administration.
- The video also contains subtle nods to Jackie Kennedy, the LGBTQ community, and the United States Postal Service.
- We rounded up all the details you may have missed.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Dave Meyers-directed visual imagines Grande as the multi-tasking President of the United States, gracefully flitting from the kitchen to the bedroom to the boardroom (all the while maintaining the perfect pitch).
But while the feminist message comes across loud and clear, some details are far less obvious. Grande quietly sprinkled the video with references to her personal life, historical figures, and current political issues.
We rounded up all the cameos and details you may have missed.
Grande’s Situation Room is packed with real-life members of her inner circle.
The Situation Room, also known as “the woodshed,” is a meeting place in the West Wing of the White House.
It’s famously used to brief the president on current events and sensitive information, and was established by President John F. Kennedy.
A large photo of Grande’s dog, Toulouse, is framed directly behind her.
Grande has several dogs, but Toulouse is her most famous. He’s heavily featured on her Instagram and travels everywhere with Grande, including on tour.
Toulouse was even featured on the cover of Vogue with Grande in 2019.
Taya Shawki is one of Grande’s close friends and longtime backup dancers.
Victoria Monét is Grande’s best friend and most frequent collaborator.
Victoria Monét has worked with Grande on every single album she’s ever released. Monét has cowritten and contributed backing vocals to some of Grande’s best songs, including “Only 1,” “Be Alright,” “Into You,” “Needy,” and “Thank U, Next.”
In 2019, Monét and Grande released a song together, “Monopoly,” as an ode to their success and friendship (“I’m so thankful working with my best friend / She the cheat code,” they sing).
Tayla Parx is another close friend and collaborator.
She cowrote six out of 12 songs on Grande’s most recent album, “Thank U, Next,” and returned to work with Grande on her upcoming album, “Positions.”
Misha Lambert has been friends with Grande for nearly two decades.
On Grande’s birthday this year, Misha Lambert gushed about their friendship on Instagram.
“This birthday girl was sent to me 17 years ago and I marvel at the whole thing,” Lambert wrote. “No matter how crazy and singular and different and similar our worlds are, to love and be loved by you, Dish, is damn sacred and it sustains me. I cherish you, I love you. Thanks for being here with me.”
When “Positions” was released, Lambert described the video as “really meaningful” on her Instagram story.
She added: “Hope you watch and share it with at least one republican.”
Grande’s mother, Joan, makes an appearance.
Grande is very close with her mother, and previously brought her onstage during her performance of “God Is a Woman” at the 2018 VMAs.
Josh Liu is Grande’s hairstylist.
Josh Liu has worked with Grande for many years and styled the singer’s hair for the “Positions” video.
He described the video as “iconic” on Instagram and thanked Grande for including him.
“you are a light of hope in the darkest of times – giving the world a glimpse at what an alternate universe of representation we would love to see in the white house in the near future,”Liu wrote. “thank u for letting me be part of this project and sit at the table with u -as vice president none the less.”
Nija is a Grammy-winning songwriter who cowrote “Positions.”
Nija previously cowrote Grande’s collaboration with Lady Gaga, “Rain On Me.”
She is one of eight songwriters credited on “Positions,” alongside Grande and the song’s two producers, Thomas Brown (aka TBHits) and London Tyler Holmes (aka London on da Track).
Darrion Gallegos is one of Grande’s friends and backup dancers.
In the video’s next scene, a member of Grande’s Secret Service is seen wearing a mask.
This subtle detail could be a jab at the current president, who frequently refuses to wear a mask and has declined to require mask-wearing in the White House, despite testing positive for COVID-19.
Grande wears a massive diamond on her left-hand thumb.
Grande previously described the song as “a flex” and a “friendship anthem.”
Grande makes spaghetti, which is probably a nod to her Italian heritage.
Grande, whose full name is Ariana Grande Butera, has often said she’s proud of her part-Abruzzo and part-Sicilian heritage.
“i’m the proudest most outspoken italian american human being you’ll find,” she tweeted in 2019.
President Grande is constantly surrounded by women.
It’s clearly intentional that hardly any men appear throughout the video.
Grande’s imaginary cabinet is full of women – drawing a stark contrast to the “very male Trump administration,” as described by The Atlantic in 2018.
She’s flanked by Paula Ayotte, a Hawaii native and competitive pole dancer.
“Imagine. Imagine being in an @arianagrande music video,”Paula Ayotte wrote on Instagram. “A music video where women run the White House while still embracing their femininity.”
“Imagine doing this at 58 after letting go of the idea that because of your age you might no longer be relevant,” she continued. “Imagine letting go of whatever limitations you think you have and then because it really needs it right now, changing the world. Because anything is possible.”
Grande commented: “u are spectacular. thank u for being a part!”
She watches fireworks from the window in the Oval Office, recalling a visual from the “Dangerous Woman” tour.
When Grande performed “Thinking Bout You” during her 2017 “Dangerous Woman” tour, she was backed by sparkling images of people embracing, including same-sex couples.
The rainbow-hued visual served as a moment of solidarity with the LGBTQ community. The colourful fireworks in “Positions” are probably meant to serve the same purpose.
Many of Grande’s looks throughout the video seem inspired by Jackie Kennedy.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is arguably the most fashionable former first lady. She is known for popularising some of the most recognisable trends of the ’60s and ’70s, including pillbox hats, tailored coats, and strapless gowns.
Grande was styled by Mimi Cuttrell for the video, who seemed to draw heavily from these retro-chic styles.
Grande’s emerald necklace could be a nod to Elizabeth Taylor — or the gemstone could hold a hidden meaning.
Elizabeth Taylor, another of history’s most famous fashion icons, was known for her love of extravagant jewellery.
Indeed, her most famous piece was arguably a Bulgari necklace that Richard Burton gave her for their 1964 wedding, with 16 octagonal emeralds and a 23-carat emerald pendant in the centre.
Grande’s necklace could also have a more symbolic resonance.
As Refinery29 noted in 2018 – when several actors wore green gemstones to the Golden Globes, in the thick of the #MeToo movement – emeralds have long symbolized “mercy, compassion, and universal love.”
“Aristotle, for example, thought the gemstone would help find success during litigations, or find support for a new venture,” Refinery29’s Laia Garcia wrote. “The ancient Egyptians believed that emeralds stood for fertility and rebirth. It is also thought to encourage growth, reflection, peace, and balance.”
Grande presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to USPS workers.
The Medal of Freedom is awarded to someone who has “made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours,” according to the White House website.
By bestowing that honour upon US Postal Service employees, Grande takes clear aim at President Trump, who previously refused to adequately fund the USPS in order to sabotage mail-in voting.
Grande, on the other hand, has repeatedly and passionately encouraged her fans to vote. During her 2019 “Sweetener” tour, she partnered with HeadCount and helped register over 33,000 new voters, setting a new record for the organisation.