Ariana Grande to perform at Manchester Pride

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Daphne Ngo, staff writer

Near the end of February, Ariana Grande was announced as the headliner of Manchester Pride. Almost immediately, she was faced with backlash from the LGBT+ community, many of the arguments surrounding the fact that she was a straight, cis woman performing at Pride, something meant for those in the LGBT+ community. There are, after all, a plethora of singers and artists in the LGBT+ community who could have been the face of the event. Why should someone who’s not a part of the community—someone who doesn’t understand the struggles they all face being a part of it—become the main attraction at their event?

On top of that, once Grande was announced to be headlining for the event, ticket prices nearly doubled. Once-affordable tickets that were meant for the LGBT+ community were now far out of reach for many. A few people took to Twitter to voice their complaints, many of them being about Grande herself accepting the position. There were also a few, more worrisome complaints from those who knew homophobes planning to go to the concert solely to see the singer. Now, along with having their concert headlined by a straight woman and many not being able to afford tickets, the ones who could afford to go would potentially have to deal with people who hated the very idea of what the event itself stands for.

Twitter practically exploded with talk of the Manchester Pride concert – so much, in fact, that Grande herself responded to the criticism. She mentioned in her response to one critic that she wasn’t responsible for the ticket prices, and she’d accepted the offer because she thought it was an honor. Grande also mentioned that there were precedents for straight allies headlining a pride event (like Cher and Kylie Minogue) and that she wanted to give back to her fans who were LGBT+ and allow them to feel loved and cared about. To quote her response: “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.”

There are clearly many sides to this story as well as many layers and injustices to pick through. Having an actual LGBT+ artist headlining the event would make more sense, but having an ally do it isn’t the end of the world, either. The increase in ticket prices and the (potentially homophobic) people going to Manchester Pride just to see Grande; that’s the opposite of okay. Above all else, pride is an event in which the LGBT+ community can feel safe, accepted, and be around others who may be in the same situation. Anything that jeopardizes that twists around the heart and soul of the event, and those who are in a position to do so should attempt to find a solution to the problems that have cropped up.