Jennifer Holliday is back from Trump inauguration performance; Toby Keith defends the decision to perform

FILE – In this Oct. 7, 2016 file photo, actress and singer Jennifer Holliday poses for a photo during an interview in New York. Holliday, who will perform at Donald Trump’s inaugural welcome concert next week, supported Hillary Clinton in the election and says that her decision to take part is not a political statement.. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has made as an actor in this week’s presidential inaugural, she says that she did not know that her participation would be interpreted as a statement of support for the President-elect of Donald Trump.

Holliday, best known for her Tony-winning role in Broadway’s “Dreamgirls,” faced with the pressure of the fans when it was announced that she would sing on a Thursday for a concert in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial.

Holliday said in a statement Saturday that she apologized for her lapse of judgment, for the uneducated on the issues and the cause of heartbreak for her fans.

A number of prominent artists have refused to perform at Trump’s first festivities. Country star Toby Keith and actor Jon Voigt in the line-up for Thursday a concert.

Keith in response to his critics and shown that he has no plans to change his mind about running.

“I have no apologies for the run of the country or army,” Keith said in a statement to EW on Friday. “I performed at events for the previous presidents [George W.] Bush and [Barack obama] Obama and more than 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO.”

Holliday’s return was first reported by The Wrap; the publication received a letter Holliday wrote to her fans. Her representative, Bill Carpenter, confirmed the information in the letter to The Associated Press.

“My only choice now has to be to stand with the LGBT Community and state unequivocally that I WILL NOT RUN FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR any OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!” she wrote.

“Know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mainly responsible for the birth of my career and I am deeply indebted to you,” she added. “You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally, and for so many years that you are with me in all my stars had long since disappeared.”

In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Holliday defended her decision to perform at the opening.

“I didn’t see it as singing for Trump; I saw it as singing for the people in the mall,” Holliday told the AP.


The performer, who most recently starred on Broadway in “The Color Purple,” said she was hurt by the angry backlash, calling for a boycott of her music. Others called her “Uncle Tom” and there was even a suggestion that she take her own life.

“It’s just really my heart drop to my feet,” said Holliday. “How could I be this much hate to spew at me, and I haven’t even done anything? I think that it’s not like the old days, when political views were your own, and you had the freedom of speech. … We live in a different time now, and a decision to go and do something for America, is not so clear anymore.”

Holiday was my turn to perform at the “Make America Great Again! Welcome to Celebration,” which included Keith, Voight, and Trump himself.

The celebrity wattage for Trump’s inaugural festivities don’t compare with that of Obama’s inauguration, that by top names including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Hudson, among others. But Trump has insisted that is how he wants to, say, the swearing-in festivities should be about the people, not the A-list stars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular