Ariana Grande has hit back after she faced backlash when it was announced she was headlining Manchester Pride.
The '7 Rings' singer was announced to be returning to the city to celebrate LGBTQ equality two years after the terror attack outside her Manchester Arena show which killed 22 people.
Grande, who will perform a selection of songs from her Sweetener World Tour, will be the first act to headline the newly-rebranded Manchester Pride Live in its new indoor home at Mayfield on Sunday 25 August.
However, the announcement caused backlash online after people claimed she was overcharging – prices for this year’s festival shot up to around £70 – and slammed Manchester Pride for having a straight cisgender woman headlining.
But now, Ariana has hit back against the backlash and said she wants to “celebrate and support” the LGBTQ+ community.
Taking to Twitter, she published a statement which reads: “hi my love. I have nothing to do with ticket pricing – Manchester pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control.
“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 saw many people discussing this so i wanted to chime in.... hope that’s okay 🖤🌫 pic.twitter.com/7joiZwI1QS— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) February 27, 2019
“I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me. And also I wanna visit a city that means so much to me.
“LGBTQ representation is incredibly important, and I’m always proud to share the stage with LGBTQ artists!
“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.
“I do think there’s room for us to talk about these issues about equating a performance *for* an LGBTQ audience with exploitation of the LGBTQ community.
“If you truly feel like I didn’t deserve to be offered this spot, I respect that. 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.”