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Ariana Grande battles Manchester Pride backlash

Ariana Grande is fighting back after music fans slammed her for hiking up ticket prices for this year's (19) Manchester Pride festival in the U.K.

The pop star confirmed she would be headlining the gay and lesbian party in the city in June earlier this week (beg25Feb19), and the demand for tickets sky-rocketed, prompting promoters to spike prices.

Now, fans are blaming Ariana, while criticising her for being a straight person headlining an LGBTQ festival.

But the Thank U, Next singer, who has always been a big supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, insists critics are taking aim at the wrong person.

Replying to one fan's comment on Twitter, Grande addressed the controversy, stating: "I have nothing to do with ticket pricing. Manchester Pride sets those rates, and they're mostly out of my control."

She also defended her headlining spot, explaining she has a special connection with both the LGBT community and the city, where she organised and staged the One Love Manchester benefit in June, 2017, weeks after 22 of her fans were killed in a terrorist bomb blast outside her show at the Manchester Arena.

"I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me," she wrote. "And also I wanna visit a city that means so much to me.

"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."

The star's Manchester Pride gig will mark her first performance in the city since the One Love Manchester show.

She will be joined by fellow headliner Years & Years, along with Bananarama, among others.