God Is A Woman
by Ariana Grande (featuring Madonna)

Album: Sweetener (2018)
Charted: 4 8
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • This sultry, vibe-heavy tune finds Ariana Grande embracing her sexuality as she takes on themes of spirituality and female empowerment.

    You, you love it how I move you
    You love it how I touch you
    My one, when all is said and done
    You'll believe God is a woman

    Most monotheistic religions teach that God has no gender as the Almighty's attributes cannot be compared to those of any other being. Grande it seems was aware of the potential storm this song's lyrics might invoke among faith-based groups. Asked if she was worried about such repercussions during a round of 20 Questions with fans on Twitter, the singer replied:

    "I was expecting it and of course understand it... but it's art. It's okay if not everybody understands everything I do. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be myself and inspire others to do that as well. I would rather do that than play it safe."
  • Ilya Salmanzadeh's slinky, hip-hop-tinged production features influences of reggae music, while Grande's breathy vocals are layered so that it sounds like a choir. Ilya is the co-writing and co-production partner of Swedish hitmaker Max Martin. The pair co-produced "Problem," the single that launched Grande from teenage star to acclaimed pop songstress. Martin has a co-writing credit on the song along with Grande plus Savan Kotecha and Rickard Göransson.
  • Tweeting about the song's themes, Ariana explained they are: "sexual female empowerment and how women are literally everything and the universe is inside of us."
  • The female-empowered music video was directed by Dave Meyers and pays homage to various works of art and Greek mythology including Michaelangelo's fresco "Creation of Adam," the statue of "The Thinker," plus "Romulus and Remus," "The Pantheon," the mythological Cerberus, among others.
  • Madonna makes an appearance midway through the video reciting a feminist version of Samuel L. Jackson's monologue from Pulp Fiction. The oration is an interpretation of Ezekiel 25:17 from the Old Testament.

    I will strike down upon thee, with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my sisters, and you will KNOW my name is the lord, when I lay my vengeance upon you

    Madonna is a hero of Ariana Grande, and her choice is significant considering the controversy created by her own sex-and-religion-laced video for "Like A Prayer."
  • Grande did a live re-creation of the video at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, using 50 female dancers. She picked up the Moonman for Best Pop Video at the ceremony, winning for "No Tears Left to Cry."
  • It was Savan Kotecha who had the original idea for the song's chorus title and melody. He wasn't sure how to develop it until Ilya Salmanzadeh came up with a couple of track ideas, but the two songwriters were unsure who could carry a song saying God is a woman. They thought a rapper would likely be the most appropriate choice and Ilya suggested they ask Grande if she wanted to finish it with them.

    Kotecha recalled to Billboard that a couple of days before Grande was due to have the label meeting to play the Sweetener album, she was hanging out with him and Ilya. They asked her if she was interested in hearing something for a rapper and when they played her the demo Grande immediately got excited. "That's not for a rapper, that's mine, I'm taking that," she said.

    Kotecha added that Grande "went home and started writing lyrics and came back the next day and we finished it up." When she started laying down the song in the studio "it all became alive."

    He concluded: "Sometimes, the right idea has to find the right home, and it found the right home."
  • Las Vegas artist Vladimir Kush claimed an image in the video that shows a woman in a candle flame is "nearly identical" to paintings he created and copyrighted in 1999 and 2000. He filed a lawsuit against Grande on January 31, 2019, alleging federal copyright infringement.

    Court filings made in Nevada federal court on August 16, 2019 revealed that Kush had dropped the lawsuit against Grande, with the parties involved having reached a resolution.
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