Ariana Grande responds to accusations she’s ‘exploiting’ LGBTQ community as Manchester Pride headliner

Ariana Grande performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Wango Tango. Getty Images Archive

After being announced as the headliner for this year’s Manchester Pride Festival, Ariana Grande has faced an enormous amount of backlash over social media.

The festival is part of Manchester’s annual pride celebration — which recognizes and welcomes all members of the LGBTQ+ community internationally.

Because Grande, 25, is assumed by many to be a heterosexual Caucasian female, many planning to attend the festival questioned how her involvement with Manchester Pride would accurately represent or even celebrate the growing community.

Some even pointed a finger at Grande, claiming she was “exploiting” the LGBTQ+ community.

“I don’t know,” wrote a Twitter user. “Ariana headlining pride when she’s straight — as far as we’re all aware — and doubling the price of tickets kind of smells like exploitation of the LGBT community to me…”

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The God is a Woman singer was quick to reply. “I saw many, people discussing this, so I wanted to chime in. Hope that’s okay.”

“I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me,” she wrote.

“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,” she added.

Ariana Grande performs at the ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert at Emirates Old Trafford in Greater Manchester on June 4, 2017. Danny Lawson / Pool / AFP Photo

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Grande used Wednesday’s tweet as a way to address the controversy. She wrote a long message directed towards her LGBTQ+ fans.

“The LGBTQ community has been so special to me and supportive throughout my entire career,” she began in the post. “The relationships I have with my LGBTQ fans, friends and family make me so happy.”

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“I’m not claiming to be the hero of the community or the face of the LGBTQ rights movement,” she continued, “I just want to put on a show that makes my LGBTQ fans feel special, celebrated and supported.”

Grande added that while she never intended to exploit the community, there have been a number of straight allies to support the LGBTQ+ rights movement before her, including Kylie Minogue and Cher.

“Over the years, pride and events have been headlined by performers and artists of all sexual orientations and genders,” she wrote, “including straight allies like Cher and Kylie Minogue.”

It wasn’t just Grande’s identity that irked fans though. Once her name was revealed on the Manchester Pride Festival bill, it was widely reported on social media that ticket prices had suddenly “skyrocketed.”

“I have nothing to do with ticket pricing,” wrote Grande. “Manchester Pride set those rates and they’re mostly out of my control.”

While not all festival attendees were upset, the inevitable ticket hike — following the reveal of Grande’s headlining slot — still put a large amount of LGBTQ community members off from buying tickets.

LGBTQ+ supporting artists scheduled to perform at the 2019 Manchester Pride Festival include: Bananarama, Years & Years, Pixie Lott and many more.

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In this handout provided by ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert, Ariana Grande performs onstage on June 4, 2017, in Manchester, England. Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester

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“We are beside ourselves to have you performing for us,” wrote Manchester Pride in response to Grande.

Another reason the singer was excited to perform the festival was because of her history and connection with the city of Manchester. “I want to visit a city that means so much to me,” she wrote.

Grande held a benefit concert in the summer of 2017 following the tragic bomb attack that took place following her Manchester Arena gig on May 22, 2017.

On that day, 22 of her fans lost their lives. Grande was left “broken” following the malicious terrorist attack.

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The One Love Manchester benefit concert took place on June 4, 2017, in Old Trafford Park. Grande helped raise $23 million to support the victims of those who lost their lives that day.

Since then, Grande has frequently expressed her love and appreciation for Manchester.

Iqra Saied, 13, who attended the Ariana Grande concert victim of the tragic bombing attack looks at floral tributes and messages as the working day begins on May 24, 2017, in Manchester, England. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Although Grande addressed the backlash and controversy, many commented that she could have handled the matter better.

Some suggested her dropping out, while others continued to question the lack of LGBTQ+ representing artists scheduled to perform.

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“How many times do we f**king have to say Ariana Grande is not an LGBTQ+ artist?” asked one Twitter user. “Stop putting her music at the top of LGBTQ+ anthems.”

“Stop inviting her to LGBTQ+ events,” they added. “[There] are so many LGBTQ+ artists that deserve the title of ‘LGBTQ+ icon’ more than her.”

Grande has not commented on the matter since her lengthy tweet was posted on Wednesday.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JUNE 04: Ariana Grande performs onstage during the ‘One Love Manchester Benefit Concert’ at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on June 4, 2017, in Manchester, England. Kevin Mazur/One Love Manchester/Getty Images for One Love Manchester

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In February, Grande released her fifth album, Thank U, Next (2019). It became a global phenomenon and trending topic in only a matter of hours.

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She will be returning to the stage this spring to celebrate her two latest albums, Sweetener (2018) and of course, Thank U, Next. The world tour will commence with a 42-date leg across North America, spanning from March to June.

Tickets for the Sweetener tour can be purchased through the official Ariana Grande website.

‘Sweetener’ 2019 Canadian tour dates

April 1 — Montreal, Que. — Bell Centre
April 3 — Toronto, Ont. — Scotiabank Arena
April 25 — Edmonton, Alta. — Rogers Place
April 27 — Vancouver, B.C. — Rogers Arena

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