Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration-related concert

Jennifer Holliday.
Jennifer Holliday.

NEW YORK • Jennifer Holliday, the Tony Award-winning singer who said last Friday she planned to sing at an inauguration- related welcome concert this week, changed her mind last Saturday, citing opposition from the gay and lesbian community.

Holliday, in a letter she provided to The Wrap, an entertainment news website, said she would no longer take part in any events affiliated with the inauguration of Mr Donald Trump as United States president.

Her decision to withdraw, she said, was influenced by an article in The Daily Beast about how her planned appearance was heartbreaking to her gay fans.

She also retweeted an op-ed piece in The Boston Globe describing Mr Trump's Cabinet nominees as "a who's who of homophobia".

"I sincerely apologise 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", she wrote."The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you. You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally."

The line-up for the Make America Great Again! concert on Thursday, released last Friday by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, is light on big names.

Country star Toby Keith is arguably the most popular performer on the list. Then there are God Bless The USA singer Lee Greenwood, rock band 3 Doors Down, classical group The Piano Guys and DJ Ravi Drums. Actor Jon Voight will be among those making "special appearances" at the free concert held on the National Mall.

Last Friday, Holliday said that although she had voted Mrs Hillary Clinton for president, she agreed to sing at the welcome concert because she viewed it as a performance for the people, not the politician. She noted she had performed at the invitation of presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Nevertheless, her decision was greeted with a firestorm of opposition on social media from fans who argued that Mr Trump is different from his Republican predecessors and that because of the nature of his rhetoric and his positions, she should not perform.

Last Saturday, she said she had found those arguments persuasive.

"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 polarised country," she 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."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2017, with the headline 'Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration-related concert'. Print Edition | Subscribe