Dreamgirls’ Jennifer Holliday paid a visit to The View January 17 to talk about her recent decision first to sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration January 20 and the subsequent decision to cancel that performance.
The Tony-winning singer, most famous for her role as Effie White in Broadway’s original Dreamgirls, re-entered the spotlight when she took on the role of Shug Avery in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple.
Holliday was asked to sing at Friday’s inauguration and initially accepted the invitation “because I’m an artist and I love America,” said Holliday on the morning show. “It just didn’t dawn on me [what it meant], I have performed for four other presidents.”
“My voice, I felt, could be used as an instrument of healing and unity and I thought we had instructions from the Obamas and the Clintons that we were gonna do a cease-fire for one day and I just thought it was okay,” she continued. Holliday received an avalanche of backlash through social media and the mainstream media, even receiving death threats. But it was a Daily Beast article that quoted Holliday, herself, that changed her mind about performing for President-Elect Trump. She did not want to be a “hypocrite or a liar.”
“It did take people to point out to me why they felt it was the wrong decision,” she said, but the conclusion not to sing was her own.
Instead, Holliday sang a rendition of “Come Sunday” on The View. Holliday won a Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance for this civil rights anthem in 1985. Holliday is also a Grammy winner for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance for her signature song in Dreamgirls, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”
Watch her performance of “Come Sunday” here: