Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has canceled an upcoming performance at an event for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next week, saying in an open letter that she didn’t know her performance would be perceived as a statement of support for Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Holliday, who is best known for her award-winning performance in Broadway’s “Dreamgirls,” apologized to her fans and LGBT people in her letter, which was provided exclusively to TheWrap, 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.”
According to the Associated Press, Holliday faced backlash from LGBT Americans after it was announced late this week that she would be one of the singers performing at Trump’s inauguration events.
But Holliday said that she never saw it as a performance for Trump, but rather for Americans.
“I didn’t see it as singing for Trump,” she told the AP. “I saw it as singing for the people on the mall.”
Writing in her open letter, Holliday explained that she chose to back out of her scheduled performance after reading an article at The Daily Beast that criticized her for agreeing to perform.
“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!” Holliday wrote.
That Daily Beast article was titled, “Jennifer Holliday Will Perform at Trump’s Inauguration, Which Is Heartbreaking to Gay Fans.”
On Friday, the Trump transition team announced that Holliday, along with Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down and others would perform a concert on Thursday at the Lincoln Memorial.
Soon after the announcement, Holliday began to receive severe backlash, which greatly disappointed her, she told the New York Times.
“It brought a lot of threats from people already saying I’ll never work again,” she told the Times. “If that’s what America has come to, where we all hate and bully people, there’s no more freedom of speech. I know everybody hates me now, but that shows we are all just hateful people now — we don’t even want to work together.”
Holliday has performed for past presidents, both Republicans and Democrats. They include: President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.
Read her full open letter via TheWrap:
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 judgement, 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”