A day after Jennifer Holliday was listed among the artists participating in Donald Trump‘s Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration, the Broadway star announced that she was dropping out of the inauguration performance following criticism from her fans.
In an open letter to Holliday’s “beloved LGBT community” that she provided to the Wrap, the Dreamgirls singer explained that she agreed to the performance because of her reputation as a “bi-partisan songbird.”
“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.”
Pence, as governor of Indiana, signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which targeted the rights of LGBTQ people.
Holliday, a longtime star on Broadway, admitted that the response from the LGBT community to her performance – including a Daily Beast article titled “Jennifer Holliday Will Perform at Trump’s Inauguration, Which Is Heartbreaking to Gay Fans” – convinced her to pull out of the Make America Great Again concert.
“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,” Holliday wrote.
Holliday was scheduled to join 3 Doors Down, Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood and other artists at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration on the steps of Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial on January 20th.
Holliday’s exit is the latest in a string of embarrassments for Trump’s inauguration committee: Members of the Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir have voiced their frustration about performing for Trump, while the inauguration team has had difficulties attracting A-list talent to the event.
Read Holliday’s open letter in its entirety below:
TO MY BELOVED 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Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having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 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.
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.
Thank you for communicating with me, I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.
Thank you for your posted comments both the good supportive ones as well as the ugly hurtful ones.
With LOVE & Appreciation,
“The Original DreamGirl”