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Ariana Grande Used Coachella to Send Her Queer Fans a Message

Ariana

She also brought out *NSYNC and Nicki Minaj — though the latter appearance was marred in technical difficulties.

MikelleStreet

Ariana Grande put on her headline performance for Coachella Weekend One on Sunday night. The performance makes her the youngest headliner in the festival's history -- she is also the fourth woman to headline.

As has become par for the course, Grande packed her set with surprise appearances and some of her biggest hits. Amongst the featured performers was *NSYNC -- sans one member, Mr. Justin Timberlake.

The group performed their hit "It's Tearing Up My Heart," after Grande announced "I've been rehearsing my whole motherfucking life for this moment." She also had Mase and Diddy eventually join her on stage. And while those performances went over pretty well, it wasn't all roses for Grande's mainstage show.

When Nicki Minaj joined the singer for their joint song "Bang Bang," fans were left with a cringe-worthy audio. Production issues had been a theme throughout the weekend -- mostly the mics -- and this was no different. According to Grande, the pair couldn't hear themselves in their earpieces, meaning their lyrics came seconds behind where they should in the song. Still, the two powered through it, also performing their duet "Side to Side."

All in all, Grande ended up performing quite a few of her hits. "God Is a Woman," "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored," "No Tears Left to Cry," and "Thank U, Next" amongst the chosen songs. She even covered Frank Ocean's "Close to You" from his album Blonde. Still, it might be the close of the performance that made the largest statement.

For the finale, Grande had a Pride Flag projected on to all of the screens of the Coachella mainstage. The broadcast was accompanied by fireworks. It was seen -- and likely, rightfully so -- as an acknowledgement of the anti-LGBTQ+ donations of Coachella owner Philip Anschutz. As boycotting the owner entirely would prove almost impossible for an artist of her size given Anschutz's many and varied financial holdings, taking up space in this way and broadcasting the message of queer acceptance sent the message to her queer fans that she stands with them.

RELATED | Boycotting Coachella's Problematic Owner Is More Complicated Than It Seems

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Mikelle Street

Mikelle is the former editorial director of digital for PrideMedia, guiding digital editorial and social across Out, The Advocate, Pride.com, Out Traveler, and Plus. After starting as a freelancer for Out in 2013, he joined the staff as Senior Editor working across print and digital in 2018. In early 2021 he became Out's digital director, marking a pivot to content that centered queer and trans stories and figures, exclusively. In September 2021, he was promoted to editorial director of PrideMedia. He has written cover stories on Ricky Martin, Miss Fame, Nyle DiMarco, Jeremy O. Harris, Law Roach, and Symone.

Mikelle is the former editorial director of digital for PrideMedia, guiding digital editorial and social across Out, The Advocate, Pride.com, Out Traveler, and Plus. After starting as a freelancer for Out in 2013, he joined the staff as Senior Editor working across print and digital in 2018. In early 2021 he became Out's digital director, marking a pivot to content that centered queer and trans stories and figures, exclusively. In September 2021, he was promoted to editorial director of PrideMedia. He has written cover stories on Ricky Martin, Miss Fame, Nyle DiMarco, Jeremy O. Harris, Law Roach, and Symone.