Ariana Grande responds to Manchester Pride backlash: ‘I’m not claiming to be the hero of the community’

The star will headline the event in August

Ariana Grande has responded to the backlash around her headlining Manchester Pride.

The pop star was confirmed to be topping the bill at the annual LGBTQ+ festival earlier this week (February 25), which is due to take place between August 23-26.

Some fans have questioned whether she, as a straight artist, was the best choice for the slot, while noting that ticket prices had increased by a significant amount. Grande responded to one who suggested it “kinda smells like exploitation of the lgbt community to me”.

The singer explained that she had “nothing to do with ticket pricing”, saying Manchester Pride set the rates and that they were “mostly” out of her control.

Grande went on to defend her booking, saying: “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.”

She continued to describe LGBTQ representation as “incredibly important” and said she was “always proud to share the stage” with artists who identified as such.

The pop star also pointed out that she wasn’t the first straight artist to headline a Pride event, explaining that she thought there was “room for us to talk about these issues without equating a performance *for* an lgbtq audience with exploitation of the lgbtq community.”

“If you truly feel like I didn’t deserve to offered this spot, I respect that,” she said. “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.”

Manchester Pride will mark only the second time Grande has performed in the city since the terrorist attack that took place following her concert at Manchester Arena in May 2017. She will be joined on the line-up by the likes of Years & Years, Kim Petras, Lady Leshurr and Hercules And Love Affair.

Meanwhile, the singer recently asked her fans to bring only see-through or clear bags to the dates on her ‘Sweetener’/‘Thank U, Next’ world tour. The shows will see strict security measures in place in an effort to protect concert-goers.