Broadway star Jennifer Holliday will not perform at a pre-inauguration event for President-elect Donald Trump after receiving backlash from Black and LGBT fans. The singer made the change Friday, Jan. 14, after confirming that she would take the stage at a welcome event earlier that day.
In an open letter published by Variety, Holliday explained why she initially agreed to perform at, “Make America Great! Welcome Celebration” on Jan. 19, which she said “was presented to me as the ‘Welcome Concert for the People.'”
“In my mind, I was reflecting on the past times of being asked to sing for presidents and I only focused on the phrase ‘For The People…,'” Holliday said. “I thought, ‘For America!’ I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country. Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
“My only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!” the “Dreamgirls” star continued. “I sincerely apologize for my lapse [in] judgment. Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you.”
In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Holliday detailed the adverse response she received from her Black fans for performing at Trump’s event.
“Being called by my own Black people a ‘n—–,’ a ‘house n—–,’ ‘coon,’ ‘Uncle Tom,’ people suggesting I should kill myself, a ‘traitor,’ all kinds of things,” Holliday said. “It was very frightening and very alarming and overwhelming as well to see those kinds of things. It’d be different if I’m out there all the time trying to make headlines or something.”
Fans aren’t saying those things anymore. They shared their delight in the singer’s new decision online.
Ecstatic @Jennifer Holliday decided to dump the Trump inauguration. Way to stand up!
— D Mays (@d_dmays) January 16, 2017
— Never My President (@LeftsideAnnie) January 15, 2017
Big shout out to Jennifer Holliday for backing out of the inauguration. Glad she changed her mind.
— White Wolf (@lovo_blanco1) January 15, 2017