Ariana Grande Receives Backlash Over Manchester Pride Headline Announcement

Zenobia Johnson, Contributing Writer

With the announcement of Manchester Pride’s annual festival being headlined by pop phenomenon Ariana Grande, many members of the LGBTQ+ community are critical about the fact that the singer is a straight woman.

Last year, the festival included performances from headliners Big Freedia, Sigala, and Rita Ora. Additionally, festival organizers have raised the price to attend the events of the entire weekend from £30 to over £70 (about $40 to over $90), with the chief executive explaining it’s due to an expansion to the festival for more performers.

Many supporters of the festival in previous years, took to Twitter last week after the announcement, claiming that an artist who falls under the LGBTQ+ spectrum should be the headliner for such a huge celebration\. Additionally, many believed that the rise in ticket prices was due to the pop star’s participation in the event. Festival supporters feel as though many will attend the beloved festival only because it’s an “Ariana Grande concert,” and not because it’s a celebration of identity.

Grande took to Twitter to address the discourse, explaining that she didn’t have anything to do with the ticket pricing. She also said that  she chose to take the gig because of the constant support she has received from the LGBTQ+ community, along with stating that other straight performers have taken part in other pride based events such as Cher.

“I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me…LGBTQ representation is incredibly important, and I’m always proud to share the stage with LGBTQ artists,” wrote Grande.


Ariana Grande posted this note to fans on Twitter in response to the negative reaction about Manchester Pride.

Other artists also defended Grande’s decision to perform, such as pop artist MNEK and Years & Years’ front-man, Olly Alexander, both of whom are gay men. MNEK explained that if people wanted to see LGBTQ+ artists headlining big shows, then they need to have more support, not only from fans but from music executives.

“If you guys are gonna go all up in arms about Ariana headlining Manchester Pride and LGBTQ artists not headlining Manchester Pride, you need to buy LGBTQ music, and buy their concert tickets, and support LGBTQ artists. Very simple. Period,” said MNEK in a video he posted on Twitter not long after the announcement.

Years & Years will also be headlining the show, along with smaller up and coming artists such as Kim Petras, a transwoman.

Whether or not possible attendees are happy with the ticket pricing or Grande as the headliner, Manchester Pride will be happening from Aug. 23 – 26.