A historically Black college in Alabama has accepted an invitation to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration, leading to an onslaught of criticism on social media.
Talladega College is the state’s oldest private liberal HBCU and the Associated Press reported its Marching Tornadoes Band will participate in the D.C.-area parade when Trump is sworn into office on Jan. 20. The news came as a shock to many, including Chicago resident Seinya SamForay.
“After how Black people were treated at Trump’s rallies, you’re going to go and shuck and jive down Pennsylvania Avenue? For what?” SamForay told the AP Monday, Jan. 2. “What they did is a slap in the face to other Black universities.”
Ron White of Atlanta, who is a graduate of Georgia HBCU Fort Valley State University, told the wire service he didn’t believe Talladega “should be playing all these patriotic tunes for someone who has degraded us.” Yet he wished the college would perform their best.
“What they should do, in my opinion, is play that national anthem the best way they’ve ever played it in their life,” he said. “Because you’re basically saluting the country.”
Online, the reaction was also split but still mostly angry.
Out Rae Geous deemed Talladega’s participation pitiful and placed them in the same box as Kanye West, who met with Trump in December.
Reub wondered if the college could be swapped.
Can the black delegation trade a whole HBCU?? #TalladegaCollege
— 43Savage (@GatorReub) January 2, 2017
Jean Brooks wondered how such a long-established HBCU could perform for the Ku Klux Klan-supported Trump.
#TalladegaCollege 1 of oldest black colleges in US will perform for man supported by KKK and other supremacists? Really? Why? How?
— Jean Brooks (@JeanBrooks68) January 3, 2017
Rion Amilcar Scott shared a way for Talladega to redeem itself after accepting the invitation.
This is how the #TalladegaCollege band should perform at Trump’s inauguration to not embarrass themselves and the #HBCU Legacy…
— Rion Amilcar Scott (@ReeAmilcarScott) January 2, 2017
My President is Black and then they should end with turning their backs on Trump.
— REEquality 🟥⬛️🟩 (@ReeAmilcarScott) January 2, 2017
Regardless of the negative reaction, the Presidential Inaugural Committee revealed Dec. 30 that Talledega’s band is one of 40 organizations, including military groups and high school marching bands, that are set to play at the inauguration.
Some social media users supported Talladega’s performance.
@Imqueen_d thought the school’s participation fell in line with First Lady Michelle Obama’s now-quotable line.
In comments on The Great Talladega College Tornado Marching Band Facebook page, several users congratulated them for the upcoming show.
Unlike Talladega, fellow HBCU Howard University in D.C., which performed at President Obama’s first inauguration parade, declined to apply for a performance slot in the event.
“I think everybody knows why and no one wants to say and lose their job,” Howard’s band director, John Newson, told NBC Washington on Thursday, Dec. 15.