- 16 Jan 17
Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has made a dramatic u-turn and decided not to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s looming inauguration on 20 January.
"I apologize for my lapse of judgment, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history," the Tony-award winning singer stated in an open letter.
She made the announcement after being criticized by her fans for agreeing to perform for Trump. “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," Holliday wrote. "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.
“I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgment, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.”
It’s yet another embarrassing blow for Trump after Welsh singer Charlotte Church became the latest high-profile star last week to turn down the opportunity to perform at the US President-elect’s inauguration ceremony.
Charlotte Church took to Twitter to publicly turn down the gig on 20 January, saying: “Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you're a tyrant. Bye.” To add insult to injury, she signed off her message with a pile of poop emoji symbols.
It appears to be turning into a right PR embarrassment for Trump – with no A-list name as yet signed up to perform. The likes of Celine Dion, Elton John, Garth Brooks and Kiss have all already turned down advances to perform at the inauguration in Washington DC.
In fact, the biggest name confirmed so far is America’s Got Talent runner-up, Jackie Evancho.
Meanwhile, British singer Rebecca Ferguson last week also turned down an offer to sing at the inauguration. The 2010 X-Factor runner-up said earlier this month that she would only do the gig if she was allowed to perform Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’, but that stipulation was dismissed by Trump’s team.
“I requested to sing Strange Fruit as I felt it was the only song that would not compromise my artistic integrity and also as somebody who has a lot of love for all people, but has a special empathy as well for African American people and the #blacklivesmatter movement. I wanted to create a moment of pause for people to reflect,” Ferguson said in a statement this week.
“I believe talent is a gift that should be used to heal the wounds of this world and make the world a better place to live in. As music is so powerful, I wanted to try and help educate the people watching of where division and separation can lead to if not corrected. My aim was not to cause contention…
“I’ve a lot of love for the United States. It’s a constant source of inspiration to myself, if not the whole world. I genuinely wish you all well and hope I will still get to sing Strange Fruit for you one day.”
While The Beach Boys have also confirmed they were asked to play at the gig, but it appears unlikely that they will do so, as a spokesperson said they still haven’t made up their minds about whether they want to do it or not.
“The Beach Boys have been asked to perform as part of the inauguration festivities,” a spokesperson for the band confirmed. “But no decision has been made at this point as to how or whether they will participate. We will let you know as soon as a decision is final.”