What’s the deal with Ariana Grande’s pig-starring “breathin” video?

Published: October 11, 2018

Ariana Grande dropped the music video for “breathin,” the latest single from her new album Sweetener yesterday; a equally cryptic and cute showcase for her and fiancé Pete Davidson’s adorable little swine-baby, Piggy Smalls.

The grainy, lo-fi shots of Piggy Smalls-Grande-Davidson cavorting around in her blanket fort are a pretty big stylistic leap away from the bold aesthetic excess Grande usually embraces when it comes to her videos, but anything featuring three-and-a-half minutes straight of an adorable miniature pig gets no complaints from us. What it does get, however, are questions.

For those wondering if the “breathin” visuals are even an official video, the answer is “yes, kinda, at least for now?” Though uploaded to her official YouTube channel, a few hours before it dropped, Grande posted an Instagram thanking fans for sticking with her through these emotionally turbulent times and updating them on all the stuff she’s trying to catch up on, among them “tryna shoot a breathin video bc i forgot to (hope there’s still time).” The jury’s still out on whether or not this is the “breathin” video or just a rushed holdover until Grande finds time to visually honour the chart-climbing single properly, but regardless, Piggy Smalls’ onscreen debut is most definitely official Grande Camp content.

It’s that aforementioned emotional turbulence, though, which implies, final video or not, that “breathin” might be more than just a cute pig promo. The past several months have seen Grande end a multi-year relationship with Mac Miller, get engaged to Pete Davidson, release a new album, and mourn the passing of Miller; this concentration of emotionally-intense events ultimately leading Grande to step away from the spotlight for a brief moment, including the cancellation of her slated appearance on the SNL premiere.

In the midst of all the chaos, Grande and Davidson became proud pig parents, though Piggy Smalls is more than just a pretty snout – Grande has admitted Smalls to be less a pet and more of a coping mechanism, stating that “she’s an emotional support pig I need her.” Davidson seems to be just as emotionally invested in their new friend, having gotten a tattoo of their pet merely days after her adoption.

This makes the choice to prominently feature the pig part of her emotional support system – one that the fiancé part of her emotional support system has branded to his flesh – in the video for a song that’s explicitly about finding the strength to power through emotionally-draining anxiety seem like a clearer and deliberate choice, as if the video is less thrown-together pleasant pig footage, and more of an ode to the emotional support in her life that’s helping her power through one hell of a 2018.

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