Years & Years’ Olly Alexander speaks out on Manchester Pride line-up controversy

"Ariana has shown more than most that she cares about us and loves Manchester"

Olly Alexander has come to Ariana Grande’s defence following the backlash that arose after it was announced that she is headlining Manchester Pride.

The Years & Years frontman took to Twitter to say that the ‘7 Rings’ singer, who has been criticised for accepting the top slot as a straight woman, has shown ample support for the LGBT+ community.

He wrote: “I’d love to see more LGBT+ headliners across all bills, the reality is line ups are a mix of artists depending on their availability and the need to sell tickets.

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“I think most LGBT+ people will understand how problematic Pride can be. Every day we get a couple of days (or…a month?) and we’re meant to be grateful Starbucks have rainbow cups. I’m glad to see people demand change, the absence of people of colour in these spaces is shamefully obvious.”

He continued: “In the case of Manchester Prise – Ariana has shown more than most that she cares about us and loves Manchester. Does that mean we shouldn’t try harder to celebrate all the amazing queer talent? No! But – can’t stress this enough – if more people listened to and supported LGBT+ artists – they’d get more slots.”

Earlier this week some fans had questioned whether Grande, 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 the festival sets the rates and that they were “mostly” out of her control.

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Manchester Pride takes place August 23-26. It will mark 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.

Years & Years, Kim Petras, Lady Leshurr and Hercules And Love Affair join Grande on the line-up.

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