Ariana Grande has responded to criticism over her headlining Manchester Pride this summer.
The “Thank U, Next” singer is set to hit the stage at pride on August 25, at the new 9,000-capacity outdoor venue, an old railway depot. Some are unhappy with the fact that she’s not LGBTQ herself, at least as far as is publicly known, and because ticket prices have doubled compared to the previous year, with the most expensive tickets going for over £70 ($93).
Grande responded to one of a number of tweets that noted these issues, and argued it “kinda smells like exploitation of the LGBT community to me.”
“I have nothing to do with ticket pricing—Manchester Pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control,” she wrote.
She continued, saying the LGBTQ community holds a special place for her, for being “supportive throughout my entire career.” She added that she wants “to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me.”
While she noted the importance of LGBTQ representation, she pointed out other straight, cisgender performers who have appeared on pride stages, like Kylie Minogue and Cher.
“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,” 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.
“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.”
Her full statement follows.
i saw many people discussing this so i wanted to chime in…. hope that’s okay pic.twitter.com/7joiZwI1QS
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 27, 2019
Journalist Ernest Owens suggested Grande use her platform and influence to lobby for prices to be lowered, or, failing that, to partially cover the increase using her “star power.”
.@ArianaGrande, tell them you'll pull out if they don't reduce those prices. Or use your star power to partially cover the rate of those tickets.
Real allies understand the inequity with the LGBTQ community and leverages it for visible good. Here's an opportunity to. ️ https://t.co/S8UmZ0UBBr
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) February 27, 2019
During a performance in Manchester in 2017, a suicide bombing killed 23 people, including the attacker, and wounded 139 others. Grande returned to headline a benefit concert, One Love Manchester, two weeks later.
Manchester Pride will take place from August 23-26.