Ariana Grande headlines Manchester Pride, Ticket prices double

Ariana Grande Is Exploiting The LGBTQ+ Community At The Expense Of Minority Representation

Ariana Grande has accepted the offer to headline Manchester Pride, although she is not apart of the LGBTQ+ community, and ticket prices for the event have subsequently doubled.


Ariana Grande will be returning to Manchester, England in August to headline Manchester Pride. This will be Grande's first time returning to Manchester since her "One Love Manchester" benefit concert, held in June of 2017.

Yes, a straight, cisgender woman will be headlining a Gay Pride Festival.

Grande does consider herself an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and her headlining the festival alone is not what has caused a viral controversy. The passes for the event have nearly doubled at around £70, while in 2018, tickets cost £34.50. This caused outrage across social media, as many are upset about the clear monetization of a festival with the purpose of giving the LGBTQ+ community a voice and a celebration of being who they are.

Grande responded to the outrage on Twitter, directly replying to @raininjulyvinyl 's tweet voicing their opinion on the situation.

In her response, Grande says she has "nothing to do with ticket pricing — Manchester Pride set those rates, and they're mostly out of my control." Though her response seems sincere, it is probable that the prices were raised due to her headlining the act in question.

Many people have already commented about people they know, who do not consider themselves allies to the community, buying tickets regardless, just to see Grande perform. This, consequently, goes against the spirit and primary reason for Pride festivals, as the overarching purpose for the celebration is seemingly muddled by brazen consumerism.

The fact that Ariana Grande, a straight, cisgender woman is headlining a show aimed at celebrating an oppressed minority, as well as the nearly doubled ticket prices for the festival to drive up the entertainment value, is an unacceptable exploitation of the LGBTQ+ community.

As an ally, it is our responsibility to stand up for a community of minorities in solidarity, using our voices to call out blatant corporate wrongdoings like these. Manchester Pride is a celebratory festival for the LGBTQ+ community, not an Ariana Grande concert, and should not be treated as such.

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Silence = Death

Equality Will Never Be Silent


The FX series Pose returned for its second season with a very clear message: Silence = Death. Though it's still early (literally one episode has passed), the overall tone of the show has darkened visibly, but not without reason. The queer experience was (and, to an extent, still is) overall negative due in part to treatment from the cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) community at large. The AIDS crisis that dominated the queer community during the '80s and '90s developed into the crisis we know it to be as a result of people (read: Reagan) not treating it with legitimacy as well as seeing it as a plague meant to free the world of the queer community. As if we aren't making everything better.

Part of Reagan's failure to deal with it comes from the fact that he failed to deal with it. HIV/AIDS (and I must make the distinction that they are two different things; while HIV does develop into AIDS, a person is not considered to have AIDS unless their CD4 cell count drops below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood) was treated as a joke by the White House and Reagan Administration as a whole. Like most pharmaceuticals, the price of life-saving drugs has become astronomical as a result of the pharmaceutical industry being able to charge as much as they wish in the capitalist wasteland. In addition to this, the idea that abstinence is the only way to fight the disease, as opposed to condom use, helped to exacerbate the rate of infection. Between these two, the queer community was under attack by its own government and the queer community of color was all but leveled, but I digress.

This episode had a hard focus on speaking up, something that is devastatingly important to everyone, but particularly the queer community. We spend so much of our lives trimming ourselves down to fit into a heterosexual society that by the time we're ready to experience adult life, we not only have to re-stitch and re-hem ourselves all over again, but we must also figure out who we are under all those layers. By expressing our inner thoughts and emotions we can begin to live lives that are loud, proud, and yes, flamboyant.

Too often queer people hear "I don't care if you're gay, but you don't have to be so out there" from people who say that they support the queer community and while they might support the queer community, that statement requires some refinement. If you're dictating how queer people act, what they wear, or even who they are because of what you like well then you aren't really supporting the queer community, you're supporting the queer community that mirrors the heterosexual community. If people can be whoever they want, they can be the biggest queen they want to be and more power to them. When the entire world tells you not to be you, it takes an unprecedented amount of strength and courage to do so.

For someone to even attempt to cut that person down is almost as fucked up as attacking them for being themselves. When people are getting attacked on the bus for being in love, it doesn't matter whether or not you think queer people should be as loud and as visible as they want, Sharon, they desperately need to because they spent countless years being told not to. And for the record, the most flamboyant and queer people have more power in their pinky nail than you'll ever have in your "feeling brave" pixie cut with highlights. Happy Pride Month to all the queer people reading this. Speak up and be as gay as you fucking want. You deserve it.

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"Russian Doll" Is Just a Groundhog of Another Color

Natasha Lyonne stars in the new dramedy that plays off a familiar trope.


I'm mostly writing this article to prove a friend wrong.

Haha, what? No, no, no I'm not that petty…okay maybe a little bit. But he's wrong! He's really, really wrong! But maybe we agree on what we're talking about?

What? You want me to go back to the beginning? I can't—

Oh, alright.

So, last week Thursday I had the Netflix original, Russian Doll, recommended to me by no less than three people in a span of four hours. It was good! It was so good! That was the claim they all made, anyways. And they're my friends, after all. I trust them with my TV-watching habits.

So, I tuned in. That very night. I watched.

The first episode was good…and that's kind of it.

Don't get me wrong! In a world rife with uninspired content that doesn't quite hit the mark, it was good. But it wasn't overly so. Not in the kind of preach to the heavens way that my friends had approached me with.

But I shrugged it off. I kept watching. The episodes were only about a half hour, after all. Surely, it'd get better. Surely, it would reach soaring, post-Icarian heights that man could only dream of. Going where none had gone before.

But it didn't. It merely stayed good.

Now, don't get me wrong, that's no small feat. There's plenty of shows that start off good and get the better of themselves as time goes on (looking at you Supernatural). Even as the latest season of Black Mirror is showing us, nothing lasts forever.

So, I tip my hat to you Russian Doll. To your darkly tragicomic self, a buddy comedy taking direct inspiration from Groundhog Day.

Wait, Groundhog Day?

Yes, that's where my friend is indelibly wrong.

A solid purveyor of the concept that nothing is that original anymore, my friend asserts that apparently Russian Doll is distinctly different from Groundhog Day. Which is utter bologna.

I am going to describe a piece of media content in this paragraph: A snarky, stressed out, contemptuous fella finds themself stuck in a time loop. Every time they die, the loop resets, putting them back to the exact same singular moment that they first heard the gentle, drifting melody of a slightly too-upbeat pop song. They try to escape the time loop by fleeing, by dying, by doing literally anything they can. That's when they realize it's futile and that they'll be stuck forever, perhaps even erased from existence, unless they can become a better person.

Now, which product did I describe: Groundhog Day or Russian Doll?

Truth is, I can't tell either.

That's not to say there's nothing distinctive about Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne is wildly funny and I loved the idea of her being trapped with a "partner in crime" in Charlie Bennett's Alan. The setting is obviously different too (New York vs. Punxsutawney) and the character's drug use provides for some trippy fun, there's no denying.

But in theme, tone, and a lot of jokes, Russian Doll can't escape the shadow of Groundhog Day.

Hell, even in this review in which they try to avoid talking about Groundhog Day they can't avoid talking about Groundhog Day.

And for good reason! Groundhog Day is a brilliant movie that condensed a brilliant concept for a generation. It's such a common staple of contemporary culture that the military widely uses the terminology "Groundhog Day" in its slang. Christ, even Congress has preserved it for all time in its library.

The influence is inescapable and anyone who says differently doesn't know what they're talking about.

Now, does that mean Russian Doll is unoriginal? Or that nothing Hollywood makes nowadays is all that original? No, of course not. To offer a slight concurrence with my friend, everything really does derive from something. One has to look no farther than Jason Campbell's monomyth to realize the stories that we tell are rarely "original" in the lofty ways that we ideally think about them.

But the well-worn trope of living in a time loop, unable to escape via death, only via some higher power or greater good, is so thick in Russian Doll that it's similarities to Groundhog Day are particularly noxious. The show would not be evaluated in the same terms today if it had been released in 1992, forever and a day before Groundhog Day premiered. And that matters.

But Noah, if nothing's original how come you hate Russian Doll more than, say, Black Mirror? Isn't Black Mirror just a reimagining of The Twilight Zone?

Well, firstly, I never said I hated Russian Doll. I happen to like Russian Doll very much. And Black Mirror certainly can't escape its own history, which is necessarily inclusive of The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling's masterpiece series perfected the spooky, thought-provoking anthology series like nothing else before it. Of that there's no denying.

I would contend, however, that Black Mirror does not rely on a singular trope to form its core. While Russian Doll isn't Russian Doll without the die, live, repeat gimmick, remove any similar singular element from Black Mirror, say artificial intelligence, and the show still stands. It moves and breathes of its own accord. While both shows are (mostly) masterfully written, Nadia Vulvokov simply plays the drug-addled redhead to Murray's weatherman Phil Connors if they both don't die and live again.

So call me petty. A hater. A downer. A Debbie downer even. Bottom line? Russian Doll is great. Just not too great.

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