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Ariana Grande Support Shines Despite Critics

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Ariana Grande has been an ally to the LGBTQ community for years. With her support of her gay brother Frankie, her abandonment of Catholicism for the Vatican’s anti-equality position, and her love letter to the LGBTQ community, Grande has proved that she is in full support of the community.

When Grande announced she will be co-headlining Manchester Pride in February, not everyone was pleased, though. Backlash ensued with members of the LBGTQ community claiming that a straight woman shouldn’t be the face of concert celebrating a community of which she is not part.

Twitter user @hardtoblameyou tweeted: “Ariana headlining Pride when she’s straight … kinda smells like exploitation of the LGBT community to me. I just find it a bit weird/uncomfortable when it’s a festival celebrating being proud of your LGBT identity and then a straight artist is chosen to be the headliner and ‘face’ of the whole event.”

Another Twitter user @hannahtheflood also posted: “Honestly, Ariana Grande headlining Pride just solidifies the fact that Pride has been commodified and turned into festival based around consumption rather than celebrating LGBT people themselves.”

In response, Grande addressed the issue on Twitter in February shortly after she was announced to headline.  “I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me,” she said. “And also I wanna visit a city that means so much to me.”

Ariana Grande is not the first straight women to headline a pride concert. Other pop artists such as Madonna and Meghan Trainor have also headlined at NYC Pride or Los Angles Pride.

Trainor, who’d headlined at LA Pride and attended pride festivals in the past received little to no backlash. In fact, her performance received great reviews with People magazine declaring her performance as a “knockout set.”

GLADD, a LGTBQ media organization, said it supports LGBTQ allies headlining at pride concerts and events. Anthony Ramos, the organization’s director of talent engagement, said “
Pride festivals should reflect their audiences by being comprised of a strong and diverse mix of LGBTQ performers as well as those whom are outspoken allies to the community.”

In an interview with Variety magazine, Troye Sivan, a member of the LGBTQ community, also added that he’s “never had an issue with allies being at this kind of event.”

While GLADD supports LGBTQ allies headlining pride events, debates on straight artists performing at pride events is still a divided.

Manchester Pride will be held on August 23-26 in Manchester, England. LGBTQ artists such as Years &Years, Lady Leshurr, and Kim Petras will also perform.

Grande is not allowing critics to deter her support of any social causes. In fact, she donated the proceeds from her June 8 concert in Atlanta, Georgia, to Planned Parenthood after lawmakers there and in other southern states have passed anti-abortion laws. In addition, her Sweetener U.S. tour has reportedly registered more voters than that of any other artist since 2008, accounting for more than 17,000 voters in 2019 so far, according to HeadCount.

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