Sometimes, the best words are no words, but one emoji. Ariana Grande’s tribute to Manchester on the second anniversary of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing is a simple and poignant message: a black screen with a single bee in the middle. On Wednesday, the pop singer shared a bee emoji on Instagram Stories to honor the city where there was an attack her concert two years ago. She did not include a caption, but the meaning behind the emoji she chose is crystal clear, and the result is incredibly heart-rending.
On May 22, 2017, a bombing at Grande’s Manchester Arena show left 22 attendees dead and over 100 wounded. One year later, Grande got a rendering of a bee tattooed behind her ear as a tribute to the victims and survivors. The worker bee has been a symbol of Manchester since the Industrial Revolution, and Grande is one of the thousands of people who got inked with a bee after the attack. She also included a worker bee in the final scene of the music video for "No Tears Left to Cry."
Grande referenced the Manchester worker bee again on Wednesday with a moving IG Story, which you can see below.
Grande has opened up about the bombing and her post-traumatic stress in the past. In the fourth episode of her web series The Dangerous Woman Diaries, Grande shared a letter to her fans about the bombing. “I’m writing to you this Feb. 22, 2018,” the note began. “It’s been 8 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. She called music “an escape,” “something that brings people together,” “the last thing that would ever harm someone,” and “safe.” She went on,
She will carry this in her heart, and a worker bee by her ear.
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