Manchester Pride and Ariana Grande – Thoughts on the Matter.

Manchester Pride announced Ariana Grande as the headliner this year, but some fans aren’t happy with ticket prices or a straight artist headlining an LGBTQ event.

It was late afternoon and I was mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, an action I do as thoughtlessly as some twirl their hair. There wasn’t anything of merit jumping out; a tweet about a bad Grindr hook-up – which I found too relatable. Then a few too many about Brexit, which is an undying source of misery akin to wasps or a stomach flu. Yet, I kept scrolling.

Then it popped up: The Manchester Pride line-up. And with its arrival came a chain reaction of observations, implications and contrasting opinions that dominated Twitter.

When it came to Manchester Pride, a lot of us expressed our beliefs about it with every fibre of our character – something I will always find endearing. So, the next few days following the announcement that Ariana Grande was headlining, I found myself going down a bit of rabbit hole, getting lost amongst the discussion around the event. Now that I’ve waded through an ocean worth of opinions and debates, I wanted to share my take on it.

I think people neglect to consider that Pride events have evolved spectacularly over the years. And this rings true for Manchester Pride. These days they’re grander, more elaborate; they draw more attention and reach a larger audience – one of all ages and races.

While the foundation values should never be ignored or forgotten, and Pride must always be a time to support and push for the rights and safety of our community, the events themselves have changed. And as equality marches further forward, we are finding ourselves armed with more allies. Allies like Ariana Grande. Allies who want to perform at Pride and express their love for us.

When I saw Ariana was getting backlash for ticket prices, for being cis, for being straight and for how much she’ll get paid for doing this event, I felt embarrassed. There was such a fuss was caused over that Ariana herself had to release a statement.

i saw many people discussing this so i wanted to chime in…. hope that’s okay 🖤🌫

We have always cherished the support of artists. Kylie, Madonna, Cher, Britney…The same respect should be extended to Ariana.

It wasn’t so long ago, we didn’t have waves of support washing over us. Celebrities may have been thoughtful toward our community, but they were conflicted as to how supporting LGBTQ+ could be detrimental to their career. Ariana hasn’t wavered, not even once.

Yet some people showered her with hateful comments.

In regard to the ticket fees and payment I’d ask politely for people to consider this. Gigs, shows, concerts, they all take a lot of preparation and production – which costs money. There’re musicians, dancers, producers, choreographers; to say nothing of the sound and lighting crew, stewards, security and support staff. This is a job for these people; it is a source of income. They have rent and bills to pay, families and partners to support, just like you.

Events of this magnitude cannot operate for free. All the people running them wouldn’t get paid. Are the ticket prices high? Yeah, they are. That’s how we are able to host such events. Ask yourself this: would you go to work for free?

I’m about as good with money as I am at dating: I never have it, and when I do it doesn’t last long; but the way I worked around it was by saving prior to the announcement – sadly the same can’t be done for my non-existent love life.

I knew Pride was coming; I knew I wanted to go. So, I sacrificed and saved. I would never dream of demanding something for free because of my sexuality, but I’ve seen people on Twitter expecting this.

While I’d love the idea of Pride events running for free, my points earlier prove that they can’t – at least not at the elaborate levels they now run at. If they did, where would it stop? Should the gay bars give out free drinks?  Should Topman/Topshop give away the clothes you want for free because it’s Pride? Those demands sound ridiculous but complaining that performers and entertainers and music crews get paid is essentially saying the same thing.

It was horrible to see comments and attacks on celebrities that are performing at Manchester Pride. Can we also remember that Ariana’s sibling is gay, so why are people saying she can’t perform at Pride? We are a community built on love and inclusivity. Remember that.

In summary, Pride events require people to organise and run them, those people are working people, ergo need to be paid. They can’t get paid if tickets aren’t sold.

This doesn’t throw their loyalty out the window; just as sexuality doesn’t cast doubt upon on someone’s support of the LGBTQ+ community. It simply makes them normal people like everyone else. We should support each other and cherish acts like Ariana that openly praises and adores the LGBTQ+ community. We should them with the same kind they’ve shown us, and that we’re meant to show each other.  

So, if I see anyone at Pride that’s skint, hit me up. I’ll get you a drink.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. What are yours? Tweet us @GayBoyBible

Written by Topher Gen

Glasgow-based writer with a proclivity for over-sharing and story-telling who has a sharp passion for LGBTQ+ rights, equality and Haribo / Tea and coffee facilities must be available at all times.

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