Mac Miller’s Death: Ariana Grande Not To Be Blamed


JD Norris, Staff Writer

On Sept. 7, the music industry lost renowned rapper, Mac Miller to a drug overdose. News of his death quickly circulated, following a parade of condolences to the Miller family and acknowledges of Miller’s contributions to the music industry. However, these were not the main topics of discussion regarding Miller’s death to rock the internet.

A swarm of Miller’s fans took to the internet to express their accusations to Miller’s ex, Ariana Grande, who had recently become engaged to Saturday Night Live’s, Pete Davidson, only months after ending her 2 year relationship with Miller. Verbal attacks plagued the internet, essentially all alluding that Grande was the main source of Miller’s downfall because of these events, as Miller reportedly released 3 singles following their breakup containing many references to Grande, as well as being charged with a DUI after crashing his car into a poll and fleeing the scene. However, those who have followed Miller throughout his career know he has openly expressed his battle with addiction, this even being one of his biggest focal points lyrically in his career.

From the limiting lens of the cyber world, like many others, I thought Grande and Miller had a fairy tale relationship, as Miller was no stranger to praising her in interviews and they consistently produced photogenic pictures of them as a couple, which is why their breakup came as such a shock to me. Following Miller’s music career for so many years, I had grown accustomed to him rapping about the same 3 things; sex, drugs, and money. However, when Miller became official with Grande, I noticed a dramatic shift in his work which would then turn into, The Divine Feminine.

The divine feminine took a complete turn on anything I had every heard from Miller in the previous years, and one can only infer that his muse for this project was Grande. Grande seemed to create a whole new look on life for Miller as drugs weren’t the center of attention for this album and rather the love, acceptance, and beauty that the feminine form resonates.  However, shortly after the release of The Divine Feminine, I read that Miller and Grande broke up, commencing the rage of Miller’s fans. Scrolling through twitter this day, I came across a tweet which Grande herself responded to this backlash.  “How absurd that you minimize female self-respect and self-worth by saying someone should stay in a toxic relationship because he wrote an album about them,” Grande said. Noting that only one song on Miller’s Divine Feminine was explicitly about her. “I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be.”

I remember being surprised that Grande used the word, “Toxic” when describing her relationship with Miller. I had seen no indication that either Miller or Grande were unhappy with their relationship and had specifically seen what had appeared to be such a positive change in Miller since their relationship began. This inspired me to look deeper into interviews with Grande and Miller which to my disappointment confirmed that what I thought was a perfect relationship was actually incredibly flawed.

As a fan, I was relieved to see Mac gravitating away from rapping about drugs and from his responses and overall body language. I observed from him in interviews he didn’t appear to have the same tired eyes and shaky form I was so used to seeing from him. However, after reading Grande’s responses, I soon learned this could not be farther than the actual reality of Miller’s state.

Miller’s downfall really came as no surprise me to me as I read of his DUI incident following Grande’s engagement announcement to Pete Davidson. As a fan, guiltily I can admit I felt some resentment toward Grande for hurting Miller, but logistically I knew better than to blame Grande for Miller straying back to his old habits as this is a choice he himself had to make and those who have followed him throughout the years know Miller has struggled with his addiction for years, even before his relationship with Grande.

“I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be,” Grande said. “I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety & prayed for his balance for years (and always will of course) but shaming / blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his s— together is a very major problem.” I completely agreed with this statement and began to think of the many other instances women have been blamed for as Grande puts it not sticking around to “babysit” a man into sobriety. Grande is not the first woman to carry the weight of a romantic partner’s demons on her shoulder.

Especially where fame and fandom are involved, the gossipy headlines about betrayal and heartbreak seem like a more tangible cause for tragedy than the reality that no matter how much support they have, even the strongest of our heroes can lose the battles they fight. And because, in this case, Grande had very publicly moved on to meet the man she has called her “soul mate,” her outward happiness was enough proof for the most misogynistic of commenters that Miller’s downfall was her fault. However when it’s all said and done the bottom line is when it comes to a loved one suffering from addiction does staying enable or disable their healing process? For many like Grande, this is no easy decision to make.

The entire angle of Mac Miller’s death seemed to be conveniently twisted to blame Grande instead of his actual cause of death, drug abuse. Whether or not you believe Grande was at fault, Miller’s actions were purely a product of free will. Whether or not she loved him too much or too little has no correlation to the fact that he ultimately chose to take those drugs. Unfortunately, we will never know what could have happened if Grande stayed, but judging from Miller’s patterns before and after Grande, I can most likely infer that the same outcome would have unfortunately subsided.