Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration, issues apology

Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inauguration, Apologizes to LGBT Community (Exclusive)

Jennifer Holliday has canceled her appearance at Donald Trump's inauguration event next week, calling her decision to perform a "lapse of judgement."

In an open letter, provided exclusively to TheWrap, the "Dreamgirls" star apologized to the LGBT community, saying she was "uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans."

The Tony and Grammy winner came under fire from some of her fans on Friday after it was announced that she was set to perform at a concert as part of Trump's inauguration festivities.

Holliday, considered a longtime LGBT ally, explained that she changed her mind after reading a Friday Daily Beast story titled, "Jennifer Holliday Will Perform at Trump's Inauguration, Which Is Heartbreaking to Gay Fans."

The article argued that the singer's decision to participate in the inaugural event was "an act that seems to defy everything her most passionate supporters stand for, and even issues she herself has supported throughout her career."

"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 ends her letter telling her gay 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."

On Friday, Trump's inauguration team announced that she would perform, along with Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, Lee Greenwood and other entertainers, in a Jan. 19 event at the Lincoln Memorial called the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration."

Many fans were surprised by the inclusion of Holliday, best known as the original Effie White in Broadway's original production of "Dreamgirls."

Holliday told the New York Times that she had been "startled and disheartened" by the "venom that greeted the news of her participation."

According to the Times, Holliday "sounded certain about her choice." But her publicist Bill Carpenter later told TheWrap that she had not yet committed to the event, eventually confirming her participation a few hours later.

Read Holliday's full letter below.

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,

JENNIFER  HOLIDAY

"The Original DreamGirl"


© Provided by TheWrap Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inauguration, Apologizes to LGBT Community (Exclusive)


Jennifer Holliday backs out of Trump inauguration performance

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has backed out as a performer at next week's presidential inaugural, saying she did not realize that her participation would be interpreted as a statement of support for President-elect Donald Trump.

Holliday, best known for her Tony-winning role in Broadway's "Dreamgirls," faced pressure from her gay, lesbian and black fans when it was announced she would sing at a Thursday concert at Washington's Lincoln Memorial.

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

Several prominent entertainers have declined to perform at Trump inaugural festivities. Country star Toby Keith and actor Jon Voigt are in the lineup for Thursday's concert.

Holliday's reversal was first reported by The Wrap ; the publication obtained a letter Holliday wrote to her fans. Her representative, Bill Carpenter, confirmed the details in the letter to The Associated Press.

"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.

"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," she added. "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."

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

"I didn't see it as singing for Trump; I saw it as singing for the people on 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, which included calls to boycott her music. Others called her "Uncle Tom" and there was even a suggestion that she take her own life.

"It just really made my heart drop to my feet," Holliday said. "How could I have this much hate spewing at me, and I haven't even done anything? I guess it's not like those old days when political views were your own and you had freedom of speech. ... We live in a different time now, and a decision to go and do something for America is not so clear-cut anymore."

Holliday was to perform at the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" which included Keith, Voight, and Trump himself.

The celebrity wattage for Trump's inaugural festivities doesn't rival that of Barack Obama's inaugurations, which attracted top names including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Longoria and Jennifer Hudson, among others. But Trump has insisted that's how he wants it, saying the swearing-in festivities should be about the people, not the A-list stars.


Singer Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration event

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 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," 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 honored 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.

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 polarized 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.

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