Music Features

Is Ariana Grande Exploiting the Gay Community?

Read Ariana Grande's response.

It's recently been announced that Ariana Grande will be headlining Manchester pride, a development that's significantly increased ticket prices. Considering Grande, as far as anyone knows, identifies as straight, many people took issue with this news. In response, Grande tweeted the following:

As we've mentioned before, Grande knows how to play the industry game and play it well. And while it's possible she recognized an opportunity to exploit an important section of her fan base for financial gain, it's also possible she genuinely wants to celebrate a community that's important to her in a city that holds great significance for her, given the 2017 Manchester arena terror attack that took place at her concert, . She is also correct in saying that she is not the first straight artist to perform at a pride festival, and in those cases, the artists faced very little backlash. So, given Grande's ongoing support of the LGBTQ+ community (she even once said, "I don't know what it is, but it seems like gay people are a lot more pleasant and more individual than most people"), why are people so upset that she's headlining pride?

It's likely that people are suspicious of the singer's intentions because she has already been accused of making a fortune off the exploitation of black culture. People have alleged that she uses a "blaccent," has darkened her skin, and appropriated hip hop sound and culture for the benefit of her career. Is it possible she's doing the same with LGBTQ+ culture? Is she hoping to become a gay icon without having to internalize any of the trauma and hardship that can come with being gay? Is this something fans should accept? The issue raises many questions about who should be allowed to represent a community and whether it's really anyone's choice in the first place. If Ariana Grande happens to have a lot of fans who identify as members of a certain community, who's to say she shouldn't be allowed to celebrate them when given the opportunity? Regardless of your stance on the issue, one thing is clear: the phenomenon of Ariana Grande isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.

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