Ariana Grande, I Wish You Were Our President!

What the pop star has taught us about compassion in times of madness

Posted Jun 07, 2017

Dear Ariana,

As I’m sure you know, in Italian (the language of my country of origin) Grande means “great,” and you truly are the embodiment of your last name. It’s so proper for whom you are!

In the past two weeks, you showed us what being Grande means.

I have to admit that until a couple of weeks ago, you were not on any of my playlists. I had heard of you because I had noticed my niece playing your videos on YouTube.

Out of curiosity, I listened to a few of your songs, and I liked especially Faith, which you masterfully sing with Stevie Wonder, whom I was listening to way back when I was the age of your fans.

I had also noticed that your manager is Scooter Braun, a genius, who has changed the paradigm of artist management, and whose work is rooted in values and a purpose that resonates with me. “Well, if she’s with Scooter Braun we'll hear more and more about her,” I had thought to myself.

And that was the extent to which I knew about you. Not much, really.

But then, at the end of one of your concerts in Manchester, the horror happened. That tragedy invited me to inquire more about who you are as an artist and about the fans that adore you.

I saw the images of the aftermath of the attack. I read the stories of the victims. I saw the photos of you getting off a plane back in Florida, the day after the tragedy. “Broken,” you wrote on Twitter.

I have to admit: I wondered if you’d find again the strength and the motivation to go back on a stage and continue sharing your art with your fans. Obviously, I ignored what you are made of.

Today conceding that I had that doubt makes me smile.

In fact, you gave us all an amazing lesson in the past few days: you showed us the most appropriate and effective response to those who want to disseminate terror and hate.

You awakened what is most beautiful and human in us. You spoke to and made our true-self vibrate. You said it: Love and unity are the medicine humanity needs today for healing.

You have reminded us that in the midst of violence it is always possible to build spaces of peace, as long as we respond to hate with love.

And therefore...

You demonstrated compassion and strength when you decided to go right back to Manchester and meet with the victims of the attack.

Because you showed extraordinary leadership and courage at a very challenging and charged moment.

Because in the face of terror and hate, you chose to give love and revealed resilience.

Because you showed us that today we'll find the solution to our time's complex problems only if we operate from a higher level of consciousness.

Because of your smarts, your courage and your creativity, I dare to say, “Ariana, I wish you’d be today the president of our country.”

As I watched the concert, I recollected what Dostoyevsky once wrote, Beauty will save the world.”

I’m sure the great Russian writer today would have written those words inspired by your greatness. Thank you, Ariana Grande!

Aldo Civico is an author and a founding partner of The Civico Group. Aldo provides coaching and training in generative leadership, helping celebrities, top executives, and entrepreneurs to develop the qualities and the skills required to be authentic and transformational leaders in today's complex reality. He is also editor of the content hub on social and personal change at  

About the Author

Aldo Civico, Ph.D., is an anthropologist and a conflict resolution expert. He is an anthropology professor at Rutgers University and the founder of The International Institute for Peace.

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