Ariana Grande has responded to the backlash to her headline announcement for Manchester Pride, saying there is enough “room” for “straight allies” to support LGBTQ events.
The singer, whose hits include Thank U, Next and No Tears Left To Cry, is due to perform at the show in August, returning to the city two years after the terror attack which killed 22 people at her gig there.
But the announcement led to criticism from some who questioned whether Grande, who is straight, is the right person to headline.
:: Ariana Grande ‘politely turns down damehood’
In a lengthy response to one Twitter user, Grande said: “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.”
Grande, 25, returned to Manchester two weeks after the attack to perform at the One Love concert, which she organised to raise funds for victims.
This will be her first show in the city since the gig, which also featured a performance from Liam Gallagher.
She said that playing in the city once again was important, adding: “I wanna visit a city that means so much to me.”
In her post, she said LGBTQ representation “is incredibly important” but pointed out that “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”.
:: Manchester ‘Impossible’ to fully recover from
She continued: “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…
“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.”
Grande also responded to criticism over the price of the tickets for Manchester Pride, saying: “I have nothing to do with ticket pricing – Manchester Pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control.”
Following the Pride announcement, the singer tweeted to say she was “thrilled” to be performing and also posted a picture of a worker bee, an emblem for Manchester which she had tattooed behind her left ear after the attack.
Also on the bill for Manchester Pride, which takes place on the weekend of 24 to 26 August, are Years And Years, whose singer Olly Alexander is gay, and Bananarama.