People get tattoos to commemorate loved ones, special occasions, or major milestones in their lives. But for Ariana Grande, her new ink has a bittersweet meaning as the delicate bee tattoo behind her left ear serves as a reminder of the fans that were killed at her Manchester Arena concert last year. On May 24, the “No Tears Left To Cry” singer posted a picture of her new ink on Instagram which was simply captioned “forever.” But why did the 24-year-old choose a bee, and what is the significance of the insect to the 22 fans that were lost in the tragedy last year? Here’s what makes Grande’s new tattoo different from the usual ink.

A Meaningful Tribute

On May 22, 2018, thousands of people gathered in Manchester to remember those who were injured and killed in the suicide bombing attack outside Grande’s concert. It has been exactly one year since the tragedy, and Billboard reports that for some, the memories of last year proved to be overwhelming as some people could be seen breaking down in tears. The media outlet also notes that many of the victims are children and that more than 800 were injured in the attack last year.

A concert was also held on the same day and among those who performed was the Manchester Survivors Choir, a group made up of the people who were at the show last year. Although last year Grande returned to Manchester days after the incident to raise funds for the victims through the One Love Manchester concert, this year, the “Side To Side” singer couldn’t make it to the special performance. But Grande took to Twitter to tell her fans that she is “sending all of the light and warmth I have to offer on this challenging day.” The tweet also had a honeybee emoji, and after two days, the “Problem” singer debuted her new ink, and its significance was not lost to the Manchester community.

A short history of the worker bee, a symbol of Manchester

The worker bee has long been a symbol of the Mancunian’s work ethic and the way they work together towards a common goal. During the 18th and 19th Century, Manchester played a major part in the Industrial Revolution, a time when there was a lot of progress in technology and industry. At the time, the Mancunian factories were some of the busiest factories in the country, and they were sometimes referred to as beehives due to the workers’ high productivity. In 1842, the worker bee was added into the city’s coat of arms, and today, one can walk around Manchester and see the symbol throughout the city.

Manchester tattoo artists’ special gesture

After the suicide bombing attack, tattoo artists across the city came together and offered bee tattoos as a way to raise money for the families of the victims. Last year, several Manchester tattoo artists welcomed clients from May 28 to 29, charging £50 (about $65) per ink, with all proceeds going to the families. After the One Love concert last year, it was reported that Grande and her crew each got a bee tattoo on their arms, courtesy of local tattoo parlor, Manchester Ink. As for the star’s newest bee tattoo, no information has been shared as to where the singer got it.

Ariana Grande’s other tattoos

Apart from her crystal-clear vocals, the singer is also known as a tattoo enthusiast as she sports several tattoos on her body. Apart from the new bee tattoo, she also recently got some fresh ink this June. On social media, Grande showed off the newest tattoo on her right hand, which reads “H2GKMO.” Her fans, collectively known as Arianators, reportedly believe that it stands for “honest to God knock me out,” a phrase that Grande herself said that she says all the time. It is speculated that the singer’s new fiancé, “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson, also sports the same tattoo.

Grande continues to be a fan of tattoos, and it is possible that she may add more to her collection of body art. Through the years, her bee tattoo will remain a symbol of her love of her fans, and a reminder of the resilience and strength of the people of Manchester in times of hardship and adversity.

Resources & Further Reading:

1. Ariana Grande, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/BjKxyqOn5ZQ/?hl=en&taken-by=arianagrande

2. Manchester Remembers Victims of Ariana Grande Arena Bombing One Year On, Billboard, https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8457417/manchester-remembers-arena-bombing-victims-anniversary

3. Ariana Grande, Twitter, https://twitter.com/ArianaGrande/status/998788066629300224

4. Why is the bee a symbol of Manchester, BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/44212546

5. Why The Worker Bee is A Symbol Of Manchester, iNews, https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/manchester-worker-bee/

6. Ariana Grande and Crew Get Matching Manchester Bee Tattoos, Elle, https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/news/a36226/ariana-grande-crew-manchester-bee-tattoos-tribute-city/

7. Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Got New Tattoos, Refinery 29, https://www.refinery29.com/2018/06/202302/ariana-grande-pete-davidson-new-hand-tattoos

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