Singer Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration event

In her letter, Jennifer Holliday wrote that she had originally agreed to perform for Trump as a "bi-partisan songbird" who had sung for four presidents, both Republican and Democratic, dating back to Ronald Reagan.
PHOTO: Reuters

LOS ANGELES - Broadway star Jennifer Holliday said on Saturday she was pulling out of a concert celebrating the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, citing an online article that cast the performance as a "betrayal" of her gay and lesbian fans.

The Tony Award-winning singer, best known for her roles in the Broadway musicals "Dreamgirls" and "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God," announced the cancellation in a letter first published by The Wrap, an entertainment industry news website.

"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," Holliday said in the letter, which was released to Reuters by her representatives.

Holliday was not scheduled to perform at Friday's inauguration itself but at an event at the Lincoln Memorial the night before called the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration." Also scheduled to appear are country music star Toby Keith, rock band 3 Doors Down and Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight.

The Trump transition team referred questions to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which did not comment directly on Holliday's letter.

"As Americans from across the country unite to celebrate the 58th Presidential Inaugural, we are humbled by the outpouring of support we are receiving and are honoured to have so many world-class performers taking part in this historic celebration of freedom and democracy," Boris Epshteyn, director of communications for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said in a written statement.

Thousands of anti-Trump protests take to streets in US

  • Demonstrators marched in cities across the United States on Wednesday to protest against Republican Donald Trump's surprise presidential election win, blasting his controversial campaign rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims and other groups.
  • In New York, thousands of protesters filled streets in midtown Manhattan as they made their way to Trump Tower, Trump's gilded home on Fifth Avenue.
  • Hundreds of others gathered at a Manhattan park and shouted "Not my president".
  • A demonstration of about 6,000 people blocked traffic in Oakland, California, police said.
  • Protesters threw objects at police in riot gear, burned trash in the middle of an intersection, set off fireworks and smashed store front windows.
  • Police responded by throwing chemical irritants at the protesters, according to a Reuters witness.
  • In downtown Chicago, an estimated 1,800 people gathered outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower, chanting phrases like "No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA."
  • Chicago police closed roads in the area, impeding the demonstrators' path.
  • There were no immediate reports of arrests or violence there.
  • "I'm just really terrified about what is happening in this country," said 22-year-old Adriana Rizzo in Chicago, who was holding a sign that read: "Enjoy your rights while you can."
  • In Seattle, police responded to a shooting with multiple victims near the scene of anti-Trump protests. Police said it was unrelated to the demonstrations.
  • Protesters railed against Trump's campaign pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep immigrants from entering the United States illegally.
  • Hundreds also gathered in Philadelphia, Boston and Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday evening, and organisers planned rallies in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, California.
  • A representative of the Trump campaign did not respond immediately to requests for comment on the protests.
  • Demonstrators face off with police as they take over the Hollywood 101 Freeway in in Los Angeles.
  • Antoinette Gaggero holds a Trump figurine making a Hitler salute that she found during an anti-Trump protest in Oakland, California.
  • Demonstrators riot in Oakland.
  • Police arrest a demonstrator in Oakland.
  • An officer examines a vandalized police vehicle as demonstrators riot in Oakland.
  • A man tries to remove graffiti as demonstrators riot in Oakland.
  • Patrons hold a sign as people march by in downtown Los Angeles.
  • A demonstrator holds a sign during a protest in San Francisco.
  • Patrons cheer as people march by in downtown Los Angeles.
  • A Donald Trump pinata is burned by people protesting the election of Republican Donald Trump as the president of the United States in downtown Los Angeles.
  • People march in downtown Los Angeles.
  • People protest outside Trump Tower in Manhattan.
  • Demonstrators protest outside the Chicago Theatre.
  • Demonstrators walk through Downtown San Diego.
  • A man gestures as he rides a hoverboard near a group of police officers on motorcycles during a demonstration in San Francisco.
  • People climb a pole outside Trump Tower during protests in Manhattan.

In a column for the Daily Beast website, entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon called Holliday a gay icon for her work on Broadway and said that Trump had surrounded himself with politicians who vocally oppose lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

"For the gay community that has bolstered Holliday's, in her own words, embattled and difficult career, and cheered on her recent successes, the news (of Holliday's planned performance) feels like a betrayal. It is heartbreaking," Fallon wrote on Friday.

In her letter, Holliday wrote that she had originally agreed to perform for Trump as a "bi-partisan songbird" who had sung for four presidents, both Republican and Democratic, dating back to Ronald Reagan.

"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," 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," she said.

In addition to her career on Broadway, Holliday has found success on the pop charts and as a Gospel singer.

She won a Tony Award in 1982 for her role as Effie White in the original production of "Dreamgirls" and two Grammy Awards later that decade.

Read also: Anti-Trump protests kick off with Washington civil rights march

Anti-Trump protests kick off ahead of his White House inauguration

  • US civil rights activists vowed on Jan 14, 2017 to defend hard-fought gains in voting rights and criminal justice during the presidency of Donald Trump, kicking off a week of protests ahead of the Republican's inauguration.
  • About 2,000 mostly black protesters ignored steady rain to march and rally near Washington's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, as speakers urged them to fight for minority rights and President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, which Trump has vowed to dismantle.
  • The rally also included the Hispanic group La Raza, politicians, relatives of African-Americans slain by police, the National Urban League, Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.
  • The rally came hours after Trump blasted U.S. Representative John Lewis after the Georgia Democrat and civil rights campaigner said Russia's alleged hacking aimed at helping Trump put his legitimacy into question.
  • The Rev. Al Sharpton, the rally's organiser and a veteran civil rights leader, said Democrats in Congress needed to be sent a simple message: "Get some backbone."
  • About 30 groups, almost all of them anti-Trump, have gotten permits to protest before, during and after the inauguration. Thousands of demonstrators have vowed to shut down the inauguration.
  • The National Mall in Washington could become a sea of bright pink the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated as US president if the vision of a pair of Los Angeles women is realized.
  • For two months, Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman have called on people around the world to make 1.17 million pink "pussyhats" for those attending the Women's March, a rally on Jan. 21 organized with hopes of bringing attention to civil and human rights issues.
  • The women have asked volunteers around the world to help sew, crochet or knit pink hats with ears by using simple patterns available on the project's website.
  • The name of the hats comes partly from President-elect Trump's comments in an infamous 2005 tape that came to light during his campaign in which, discussing women, he said: "Grab them by the pXXXX. You can do anything."
  • They say it is easier than knitting a scarf, the typical starter project for novices.
  • Marchers can get a hat by contacting a maker through an online distribution system, through social media or at sites in Washington.
  • Organizers have said the protest could draw around 200,000 people, but Suh and Zweiman decided to aim for the 1.17 million people that could feasibly fit in the Mall.
  • For some knitters at the "pussyhat party" on Jan 13, it was hard to put the needles down as the deadline nears.

 

 

More about
DONALD TRUMP

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES