Ariana Grande speaks out after being accused of exploiting the LGBTQ community
It has been rumoured for several weeks that Ariana Grande was set to headline Manchester Pride this year, but since it has been confirmed, the news has had its fair share of detractors. Now, she's had to step in and defend herself, addressing the community and what some believe is her 'exploitation' of the event.
This performance will be the first time she's played in Manchester since the One Love concert, which was put together by Grande to help those affected by the bombing in the city at her concert in 2017.
Now that she's been announced as the headlining act of the day, both she and the organisers of Manchester Pride have been criticised for both the price of tickets and the lack of a performer from the LGBTQ community.
One of the key issues is that last year a weekend ticket was £28 ($37), whereas this year the same ticket is listed as £74.50 ($100). This has also fed into the concern that the event has become more of a music festival, attended by fans of the artists playing, rather than those actually there to support and celebrate LGBTQ people.
"A girl from my high school is wanting to get tickets for Manchester pride but we’ve literally argued over her being homophobic and racist and lesbians make her uncomfortable but she wants to go for Ariana," one Twitter user wrote, "this is what I mean about it not being about pride anymore."
Other people were frustrated with the fact that there are many popular and talented musicians from the community that have been ignored in favour of Grande.
Once all these criticisms started to mount up, the singer felt it was necessary to come forward and defend herself for her involvement, and set a few things straight - namely that she wasn't responsible for the ticket pricing.
So, she replied to one tweet in particular:
"Manchester Pride sets those rates and they're mostly out of my control," Ariana began in her note. "The LGBTQ community has been so special to me and supportive throughout my entire career, the relationships I have with my LGBTQ fans, friends, and family make me so so happy."
While she says she is "proud to share the stage" with artists from the community, she made sure to point out that in the past, other artists of all sexual orientations and genders have headlined pride festivals all over the world - including in England. For instance, Brighton Pride was headlined by Britney Spears in 2018, and the same event is set to feature Kylie Minogue in 2019. She continued:
"I do think there's room for us to talk about these issues without equating a performance *for* an LGBTQ audience with the exploitation of the LGBTQ community.
"I'm not claiming to be the hero of the community or the face of the LGBTQ rights movement. I just wanna put on a show that makes my LGBTQ fans feel special and celebrated and supported."
Many of her fans, whether they agreed with everything she said in her statement or not, were receptive to her sensitive and considered response to the backlash.
Hopefully the event's organisers will re-think the pricing of the event, in any case.