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Culture Club

with Conor Behan

Joining acts such as Years & Years and Kim Petras on the bill, Grande is a significant booking as she is one of 2019’s biggest pop stars with two hit albums in six months. This will also be her first time performing in the city since the One Love Manchester concert. That show was a response to the terrorist attack at her 2017 gig where fans were killed and injured. Despite its significance to the city, Grande’s slot fed into a wider conversation that emerged online - should Pride line-ups be headlined by straight cis performers?

Viral tweets questioned whether Grande’s appearance was an exploitation of LGBTQ audiences and whether slots should only go to performers from the queer community. Grande seemed willing to listen and responded to one particular comment saying, “I want to celebrate and support this community regardless of my identity or how people label me.” She also commented, “I do think there’s room for us to talk about these issues without equating a performance for an LGBTQ audience with exploitation of the LGTBQ community”. She ended by saying, “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 make my LGBTQ fans feel special and celebrated and supported.” It’s important to find the nuance and context in these conversations in order to move the needle forward. In order to reach a point where Pride festivals can be filled up with LGBTQ acts that still have music-festival-sized, mainstream, pulling power, much work has to be done in allowing those acts to flourish all year round.

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