Ariana Grande released a statement on Wednesday (27 February) responding people’s criticisms of her headlining Manchester Pride later this year.
Most criticism stems from Grande being straight — as far as everyone is aware — and the increase in ticket prices to the event.
In January, Manchester Pride released tickets for the August event and they more than doubled in price. The most expensive tickets are now over £70 ($93.18).
A lot of fans began speculating the price hike had to do with Grande possibly headlining, which was confirmed a few days ago.
When some fans said the increased ticket price felt like ‘exploitation’ of the LGBTI community, Grande responded. She posted a statement via the Notes app and published it on Twitter.
‘i saw many people discussing this so i wanted to chime in…. hope that’s okay,’ she wrote.
Her full statement
‘hi my love,’ she began. ‘i have nothing to do with ticket pricing — manchester pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control.’
She continued her message by stating how special and supportive the LGBTI community has been for her.
‘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.’
She went on to cite other straight artists who have performed at pride events, like Kylie Minogue and Cher.
‘i do think there’s room for us to talk about these issues with 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.’
Grande’s history with Manchester
Most fans responded to Grande’s statement by thanking her and telling her she shouldn’t have had to explain or apologize.
Others suggested ways she could combat the high ticket prices.
.@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
Grande has an emotional history with the city of Manchester, however, and makes this discussion more nuanced.
At her May 2017 concert at Manchester Arena, there was a suicide bombing as fans were leaving the concert. Twenty-three people died, including the attacker. Another 139 were wounded, more than half of them children and younger fans.
Weeks later, Grande returned to headline the Manchester One Love concert.
Some fans believe the high ticket prices are profiting off this trauma.
This history is why Grande wrote that Manchester means a lot to her, and undoubtedly why she ‘excitedly and gratefully’ said yes to performing.
Manchester Pride takes place 23-26 August.