Ariana Grande released her long-awaited four-part docuseries for YouTube, Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries, this week. In it, the singer gives fans a look into the making of her fourth studio album, Sweetener, never-before-seen highlights from various concert performances, backstage footage from her Dangerous Woman Tour, and special moments from her One Love Manchester tribute concert. (There are even a few brief cameos of her former fiancé, Pete Davidson, peppered throughout the series.)
But perhaps the most impactful few minutes of the docuseries is a sobering moment at the start of episode four, when the singer addresses the terrorist attack on her Manchester performance in May 2017. She does it through a powerful statement to the victims, her fans, and all who felt the heavy weight of violence that day; writing the personal letter herself, the words are a reflective look back at the bombing eight months later.
Grande has openly discussed the events of her Manchester performance before, but this letter feels especially personal and moving. In the statement, she discusses how heavily that horrific night has weighed on her and how she will carry that experience with her “every day for the rest of my life.”
Below, the letter in full:
“I’m writing to you this February 22, 2018.
It’s been eight months since the attack at our show at the Manchester Arena. It’s impossible to know where to start or to know what to say about this part. May 22, 2017, will leave me speechless and filled with questions for the rest of my life. Music is an escape.
Music is the safest thing I’ve ever known. Music—pop music, stan culture—is something that brings people together, introduces them to some of their best friends, and makes them feel like they can be themselves. It is comfort. It is fun. It is expression. It is happiness. It is the last thing that would ever harm someone. It is safe.
When something so opposite and so poisonous takes place in your world that is supposed to be everything but that … it is shocking and heartbreaking in a way that seems impossible to fully recover from.
The spirit of the people of Manchester, the families affected by this horrendous tragedy, and my fans around the world have permanently impacted all of us for the rest of our lives. Their love, strength, and unity showed me, my team, my dancers, band, and entire crew not to be defeated. To continue during the scariest and saddest of times. To not let hate win. But instead, love as loudly as possible, and to appreciate every moment.
The people of Manchester were able to change an event that portrayed the worst of humanity into one that portrayed the most beautiful of humanity. ‘Like a handprint on my heart’ … I think of Manchester constantly and will carry this with me every day for the rest of my life.”
Later in the docuseries, Grande explains why she feels it’s important, now more than ever, to continue to move forward. “Another thing that I’ll take away from this is how important it is to stay present and to appreciate everyone in your life and every single moment that you’re lucky enough to have with them,” the singer says, toward the end of the final episode. “Nothing will ever be able to stop us from doing what we do and doing our jobs because how it makes people feel is the most beautiful thing in the world.”