Earlier this week, one of the most star-studded lineups ever to grace the Manchester Pride stage was announced. Ariana Grande and Years & Years will headline, with Bananarama, Kim Petras, Basement Jaxx, Hercules and Love Affair, Pixie Lott and several other acts rounding out the lineup. But in lieu of excitement from many, Ariana Grande specifically faces accusations of exploiting LGBTQ people, as a straight pop artist who will perform for a sea of thousands of queer Manchester Pride-goers.
Some say the anger of those claiming Grande is exploiting LGBTQ people is due to the fact that ticket prices for Manchester Pride have doubled this year, most likely to cover the high costs of this year’s performers. “Rainbow Passes” — the tickets allowing Pride-goers access to the massive concert — are available for £37.95 (a day ticket) and £70.95 (a weekend ticket).
Last year’s most expensive ticket was reportedly £28.
manchester babes, i’m so thrilled to be headlining pride. my heart. i cant wait to see u and i love u so so much.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 25, 2019
But instead of ignoring the accusations, Grande took to her Twitter account to voice her own opinion:
hi my love. i have nothing to do with ticket pricing — manchester pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control.
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. i want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me. and also i wanna visit a city that means so much to me.
lgbtq representation is incredibly important, and i’m always proud to share the stage with lgbtq artists! over the years, pride events have been headlined by performers and artists of all sexual orientations and genders, including straight allies like cher and kylie minogue. i do think there’s room for us to talk about these issues without equating a performance *for* an lgbtq audience with exploitation of the lgbtq community.
if you truly feel like i didn’t deserve to be offered this spot, i respect that. but i did accept it excitedly and gratefully. 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. that’s all i wanna do.
Manchester is a city with Ariana Grande history, as in May 2017 a suicide bomber attended her show at Manchester Arena, killing 22 people.