Ariana Grande has responded to the backlash over her headlining Manchester Pride, saying: “I’m not claiming to be the hero of the community.”
The US singer is due to perform at the annual LGBT event in August, two years after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at her concert in the city.
The announcement earlier this week led some people to question whether Grande, who is straight, was the right person to headline the event.
Grande has now waded in on Twitter, explaining why the show is so important to her.
“The LGBTQ community has been so special to me and supportive throughout my entire career,” said the star.
“The relationships I have with my LGBTQ fans, friends, and family make me so so happy.
“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,” she added.
“LGBTQ representation is incredibly important, and I’m always proud to share the stage with artists 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 without 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.”
Grande also addressed complaints over the ticket prices.
“I have nothing to do with ticket pricing – Manchester pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control,” she explained.
The singer last appeared in Manchester in June 2017 at the One Love concert, which she organised to raise money for the emergency fund after Salman Abedi’s deadly attack at Manchester Arena the previous month.
After her headlining slot was announced she tweeted that she was “thrilled” to be performing at the event.
The singer, 25, also tweeted a picture of a worker bee.
The insect is an emblem for Manchester, symbolising the city’s industrial past.
She had the image of a bee tattooed behind her left ear after the attack.
Manchester Pride Live takes place on the weekend of August 24 to 26.