Jennifer Holliday changed her mind about performing for President Trump


Last Friday, everyone learned the Broadway diva Jennifer Holliday had accepted President Baby Fists’ invitation to perform at his inaugural concert. Holliday is a Broadway legend, originating the role of Effie in Dreamgirls (which won her a Tony). Most recently, she starred in The Color Purple (the musical) on stage. She’s a legend. And she agreed to perform at Trump’s inauguration, saying: “I haven’t even endorsed anything. I’m not singing for Donald Trump; I’m singing to welcome the people of America. He cannot be the only face that’s gonna represent us. And just to have all white people up there singing is not going to be a fair representation either. So you’re just saying don’t go? Really? I’m just very disheartened by it that it would be so much hate.”

She also said that she voted for Hillary Clinton and she was disturbed by the hatred she was getting online and on social media. But then within 24 hours, Holliday changed her mind. She decided to cancel on Baby Fists, citing her long-standing support of LGBT rights. Here’s part of her open letter, directed to the LGBT community:

Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having sung for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. I was asked to sing a song for what 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”… 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. In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, 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!

I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement, 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. 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… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.

[From The Wrap]

I hope all is forgiven. Truly. I think there’s been a lot of privileged people saying a lot of sh-t about how we just need to support President Baby Fists, no questions asked. This situation was not that. This was a Broadway legend with a history of non-partisan performances who genuinely believed that she was going to give an apolitical performance for the American people. I think people should be allowed to change their mind, especially when it shows that Jennifer Holliday was actually listening to her fans and weighing the arguments they were making. Isn’t this how we want people to behave?

Speaking of all of those white folks who will be performing at the pre-inauguration concert… Toby Keith is performing. When there was some backlash against him – which is bizarre to me because performing for Baby Fists seems completely on-brand for Toby Keith – Toby released a statement as well: “I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military. I performed at events for previous presidents [George W.] Bush and [Barack] Obama and over 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO.”


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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38 Responses to “Jennifer Holliday changed her mind about performing for President Trump”

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  1. aquarius64 says:

    You know this inaugural is bad when Toby Keith got heat for performing.

    • Heather says:

      I saw a Toby Keith article on FB with the person’s comments, something along the lines of “This is what it means to be a real American! I’m tired of these phony people whining! We should all support the president – if you don’t like it, move on or move out!” and I generally know better than to comment on articles or comments like that, but I did this time and I said No, people don’t need to “get over it” or “move out” because they have a real problem with Trump becoming president. Others proceeded to berate me with ridiculous comments about “Way to be a real example of working together to unifying the country,” “America is less safe now and we need unifying more than ever,” and “Did you know Trump won an NAACP award??” These people make my blood boil and I get sick thinking that there’s so many of them out there. I regret commenting at all because in that forum, it’s a losing battle.

      • Nikayna says:

        That’s how I felt arguing with a friend on FB right after the election. They have their heads so far up there’s no talking them down, and you just get hurt in the process. Disgusting.

      • hogtowngooner says:

        Unreal. And how many of them were the same ones posting memes of President Obama as a monkey/African/Muslim, and Tea Party crap of “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and “the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots” How quickly they forget.

  2. Lenn says:

    The only voices I am looking forward to hearing is the loud and clear voice of the protesters. I hope alot of them show up. I hope inauguration day will be defined by them. That the world will not see a glossy picture of a man taking the oath with his wife dressed to the nines, I hope the world sees the despair, frustration and anger of the people.

    • Jan says:

      Wouldn’t it be great if the voices of the protestors drowned out the inaugural oath? That would be be the best but I’m sure they’ll be kept well away from the proceedings.

      Have you heard that a whole group of pro-Trump bikers are attending and have taken it on themselves to “take care” of any protestors? Jeez… I hope everyone stays safe.

  3. Lotusgoat says:

    Love her. Nothing wrong with being optimistic about the inauguration. And we should be understanding of that situation.

    But Toby Keith performing is no surprise whatsoever.

  4. Livealot says:

    People are saying the controversy now is that when it was just African Americans complaining, she was still going to perform anyway…but for the LGBT she changed her mind.

    • Sarah says:

      Which is funny because trump came across as much more racist than homophobic. But I guess pence evens that out…

  5. . says:

    She only said no because she was criticized.

    Anyway I’m not going to watch this whole mess.

    • Olenna says:

      Exactly. Her excuse–“For America”–was seriously lame. She should know that the “America” that voted for Drumpf couldn’t give 2 sh*ts about her in the first place. So, no, I’m not buying her reason to sign up for this travesty. And, I’m not watching it either.

      • . says:

        Exactly. Let’s hope the ratings suck.

      • Tate says:

        Cable news networks have been off in my house for awhile now. I hope people will tune out all week as they spend the week hyping the lead up to the inauguration.

  6. JenB says:

    Toby Keith did a few shows with Stephen Colbert too. I don’t think he’s as redneck as some other country music stars are or as he’s branded. Not that it matters.
    Do they typically get paid for inaugural events?
    I’m not ready for this.

    • lightpurple says:

      They usually are not paid for performing during the inauguration. It is an honor. But Trump’s people have been offering money.

  7. Lucy2 says:

    Given all of the stories of performers refusing or backing out, I’m not sure how she didn’t realize what she was accepting. But I am glad she thought about it and made a better decision, and owned up to it.

  8. Louise177 says:

    I don’t know why but I keep wondering why Kid Rock hasn’t been added. Toby Keith is a big name but he’s going on the downside of his career. His last few albums haven’t done well, no hit singles.

  9. Jayna says:

    Please let the ratings be the lowest ever. Trump won’t be able to handle that with his huge ego. He’ll get a massive turnout in person for his inaugeration. The Deplorables will come from all over.

    But he will seethe if the televised ratings are low of his big moment. It’s petty, but it will make me happy.

    • boredblond says:

      It’s probably mandatory viewing in Russia 😉

    • Christin says:

      He’ll claim FAKE ratings in a tweet right afterwards. Or claim highest ever, regardless of reality.

      • lucy2 says:

        Exactly. This is how his whole time in office (please, please be brief) will go. He will just continue to deny facts and lie and his followers will eat it up.

  10. Sarah says:

    Everybody turn your TV to a channel that is not showing the inauguration. Let’s make it the lowest rated inauguration.

    • Chaine says:

      I believe it is on Friday morning, so I will be at work as will most normal people that need to make a living. No problem not watching it there.

      • lucy2 says:

        When Obama was inaugurated, we actually stopped work to watch. It was so happy and historic. I’d been hoping to do the same with Hillary.
        I will NOT be watching Trump’s.

  11. Kris says:

    And yet I can’t help but wonder – if there is so much protest against him now, why did they vote for him in the first place? And please don’t hide behind “he didn’t even get the majority of votes”. He had enough.

    • Trixie says:

      How do you know that the protesters voted for him? I’d bet that the people protesting Trump are the people who did not vote for him – either by voting for someone else or not voting at all.

  12. Renee2 says:

    I was a bit surprised when I read that she was performing, as she is a Black woman with a large LGBTQI base. But then to read that the criticisms towards her veered into abuse with the inclusion of racial slurs being hurled against her, pissed me right off. How is it that people can’t see the hypocrisy in criticizing her for ignoring Trump and Pence’s bigotry but then proceed to be racist towards her???!!! GTFOH with that shit.

  13. Sparkles says:

    As I was reading this, a pop-up add appeared on the bottom of my screen, asking if I wanted a free inauguration ticket. Are they THAT desperate!!? LOL

  14. eto says:

    I’m fine with her apology, it’s actually one of the most sincere celeb apologies I’ve read in a while.

  15. Jazz says:

    I remember watching Obama’s inauguration on TV and feeling like there was a change in the air, hope for the future. Not feeling that this time. No way I’m watching this inauguration. Think I’m washing my hair that day…

  16. Amanda D says:

    I for one will not be watching any of this circus. I hope thousands of protester show up. Props to Holiday for doing the right thing. I’ve always loved her voice and have had a lot of respect for her.

  17. Kate says:

    Only five days left. What a shitshow.

  18. hogtowngooner says:

    God I despise Toby Keith. That one song he did basically summed up the type of American the rest of the world can’t stand.

  19. OTHER RENEE says:

    Wake me up when the inauguration is over, ok?

  20. Kate says:

    You mean she was bullied into rescinding her acceptance.