“I’m singing on the mall for the people. I don’t have a dog in this fight—I’m just a singer, and it’s a welcome concert for the people on the mall,” Holliday initially told the New York Times when the announcement was made that she would sing during the inauguration.
She added, “We’ve become such a polarized country—we’re not listening to what the Obamas have said. They told us to move forward with hope—they didn’t tell us to stop participating—I didn’t hear that in Obama’s speech.”
Within 24 hours Holliday had changed her stance. She announced her decision to withdraw in an open letter provided exclusively to The Wrap January 14.
Holliday explained that she had been asked to perform as part of a Welcome Concert for the People, and that she 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 also pointed out that she had been a “bipartisan songbird,” having performed for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush.
However, after outcry from fans and an article in the Daily Beast headlined “Jennifer Holliday Will Perform at Trump’s Inauguration, Which Is Heartbreaking to Gay Fans,” Holliday said she has changed her mind and will no longer perform as part of Trump’s inaugural events.
“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,” she wrote.
The letter continued: “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.”