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Opinion: Is there a problem with Manchester Pride?

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Opinion: Is there a problem with Manchester Pride?

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

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The 2019 Manchester Pride Festival has been the topic of online discussion after facing scrutiny for having Ariana Grande headline the event.

Grande has recently been in the public eye following her alleged queerbaiting and cultural appropriation.

In the music video for her song “Break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored,” Grande acts very flirtatiously towards a man and woman, and the final moments of the video pointedly imply that Grande is attracted to the woman.

As far as I’m aware, Grande has never done anything to lead the public to believe she is not heterosexual. So, many people felt she was using the video as a way to gain LGBT+ viewership.

I think it’s important to remember that Grande only has so much control over what her music videos look like. Yes, she is the one singing the song, but she is not the only person who wrote the song, and she didn’t direct the video. Grande is a brand as well as a person, so it is not entirely fair to assume she makes every creative decision surrounding her music.

Grande responded on Twitter to people’s concerns about her exploiting the community at Manchester Pride.

“I’m not claiming to be the hero of the community or the face of the lgbtq rights movement,” Grande tweeted. “I just wanna put on a show that makes my lgbtq fans feel special and celebrated and supported.”

Grande also mentioned the fact that she is not the first straight ally to headline a Pride celebration, citing examples like Cher and Kylie Minogue.

I believe that Grande performing at Pride Manchester is not inherently problematic. Grande has a specific, tragic relationship with the city of Manchester, where a suicide bomber killed 22 people leaving one of her concerts in 2017, according to NBC.

Grande has also always been a fairly outspoken supporter of the LGBT+ community. She has spoken publicly about how growing up with a gay brother helped her become the person she is today, and how her family was always very open to discussing gender and sexuality.

Pride festivals are supposed to be places where members and allies of the LGBT+ community can celebrate their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Gatekeeping who is allowed to perform at these events goes against their entire purpose. If an artist is an ally, they should be welcomed at Pride.

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Opinion: Is there a problem with Manchester Pride?