One taught us love, one taught us patience, one taught us...to dissect every frame of a music video. In the star-studded video for “Thank U, Next,” Ariana Grande takes us on a nostalgic trip through our favourite aughts teen flicks — beginning with Mean Girls and the iconic Burn Book. Grande, channeling a kinder, gentler Regina George (Rachel McAdams), has filled her Burn Book with happy memories of her exes, but one is conspicuously absent: Mac Miller, who passed away in September 2018.
Fans noticed that Miller didn’t make an appearance in her pink “Thank U, Next” book. We see her scroll through a few pages, and glue-stick a portrait of herself with Pete Davidson (and a note that he’s “HUUUUGE”), but there are no pages for Miller. On Twitter, Grande confirmed before the video was released that while Miller is missing from her book, he’s elsewhere in her teen bedroom. “M ain’t in the book he next to my bed,” she wrote, setting us all off on a quest to spot the Miller reference.
Time to watch the video in full-screen HD quality and put on our Sherlock hats. When she sings, “Wish I could say thank you to Malcom / ‘Cause he was an angel,” she looks upwards, presumably towards Heaven...but maybe she’s also cluing us into his whereabouts? Maybe she’s not directing us to look above her, but behind her — at a nightstand next to her bed. It’s hard to discern the objects on top of it other than a lamp, a smaller version of the stuffed teddy bear on her bed, some flowers, and perfume bottles (presumably, her Cloud fragrance) but it does look like there are framed photographs on the nightstand as well. According to her tweet, Miller’s photo would be nestled there for safekeeping.
Grande has been outspoken about her grief over Miller’s death. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “i adored you from the day i met you” and “you were my dearest friend.”