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  1. ITV Report

Ariana Grande responds to criticism over Manchester Pride headline spot

Ariana Grande has defended her spot headlining this year's Manchester Pride event, saying she is "proud" to celebrate and support the LGBT community.

The event in August will be the America singer's first return to Manchester since the benefit concert in memory of the terror attack at the city's Arena.

Ariana Grande performing during the One Love Manchester benefit concert. Credit: One Love Manchester

However some fans on social media expressed concern over a lack of LGBT representation in the headline spot.

One Twitter user, who said she was not passing judgement of Ariana herself, worried that her appearance combined with an increased ticket price "smells like exploitation".

Ariana responded, saying she "wanted to chime in" on the debate.

The LGBT community has been so special to me and supportive throughout my entire career.

I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity and how people label me.

– Ariana Grande/ Twitter
Ariana Grande performs at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Credit: PA

Posting on Twitter, the singer pointed out that previous Pride events have been headlines by performers of all orientations and genders, including "straight allies".

The singer added that she was 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," she added.

A statement posted on Twitter by Ariana Grande

"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," she said.

The annual celebration of LGBT life has been running for more than 25 years. Credit: PA

Mark Fletcher, chief executive of Manchester Pride, said: "This year marks a big change for the festival as it continues to evolve."

"Previously we had one event running over the weekend and this year we have two, each with a distinct offering. At Manchester Pride Live we're truly honoured to be welcoming Ariana back to the city to help us celebrate LGBT+ life."

My team and I have worked hard to create a diverse line-up of performers who will join her in helping us continue to make a difference to the lives of LGBT+ people and celebrate the unity that exists in our brilliant city.

– Mark Fletcher, Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride Live takes place on the weekend of August 24 to 26.