Content Warning: This article discusses mental health issues and drug addiction.
This morning, cult rapper Mac Miller died earlier today of a suspected overdose. Tributes have been pouring in for the 26-year-old, from such contemporaries as Chance The Rapper to Post Malone.
God fucking dammit. You were such an incredible person. You changed so many lives. Had so much love in your heart. You inspired me throughout highschool, and I wouldn't be where I was today without you. Never a more kind and sincere and beautiful person. I fucking love you mac.
— Beerbongs & Bentleys (@PostMalone) September 7, 2018
I dont know what to say Mac Miller took me on my second tour ever. But beyond helping me launch my career he was one of the sweetest guys I ever knew. Great man. I loved him for real. Im completely broken. God bless him.
— Chance The Rapper Album in July (@chancetherapper) September 7, 2018
However, amidst this tragedy, a darker narrative has emerged. Some Mac Miller fans are blaming Ariana Grande for his death. Ariana dated Mac Miller for two years, before an amicable split earlier this year.
Ariana has already disabled comments on her Instagram, due to the abuse flowing in.
WTF is wrong with you people?? Mac Miller died. Stop blaming the poor girl. Pay your respects and go.
Mac Miller was Mac Miller before and after he dated Ariana Grande. Why must she be used to identify him?
Let the girl live abeg pic.twitter.com/ETtL9YzT19
— Manon Blackbeak (@TheNnenna) September 8, 2018
As everyone, news organisations and fans included, try to find a narrative and reason for Mac Millers’ untimely death, it’s almost too easy to pin it on Ariana. But it’s also very wrong and incredibly gross.
Anyone who has gone through a mental health care plan can tell you that nobody should be relied upon to be your one and only saviour. Not only is it placing an unnecessary burden on one person when the society and community around the person suffering should be working together, but it’s also disingenuous to the real causes behind mental illness.
As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression myself, I’ve had to learn that simply having someone be “there for you” or having someone who loves you isn’t the miracle cure for mental health issues or addictions.
The illness will still be there, even through the good times, sometimes just to ruin the good times for you. And that’s nobody’s fault, especially not the people who love and care for you. Or, in this case, the people who do love you but have moved away from your life.
Coincidentally, Ariana spoke about being blamed for Mac Miller’s reckless behaviour after their split back in May. In a tweet, she said that, “…Shaming/blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his s**t together is a very major problem.”
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2018
Not to mention, it also plays into a sexist narrative that women are responsible for the actions of the men they happen to have any relationship with.
Shockingly, this isn’t even the first time this past week that Ariana has been subject to a form of sexism in the media. Earlier this week, she was groped by Bishop Charles H Ellis III during a tribute service for the late Aretha Franklin, which led to a larger debate about women’s agency. Mind you, this was during a tribute for the late singer of a song literally called “Respect”.
And let’s not forget that Ariana possibly still holds trauma from the terrorist attack that happened during her concert in Manchester last year, leaving 23 dead. Blaming her for another death on top of that isn’t just gross, it’s straight-up grotesque.
Nobody is saying that addiction and mental illness is easy, or that anyone should suffer alone and never seek help. But pinning the blame on one singular person? That’s not on.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, help is available: Lifeline (13 11 14), beyondblue (1300 224 636), Kids Helpline (1800 551 800) and Mensline (1300 789 978). They’re always there if you need them.