Why Jennifer Holliday Decided Against Performing at Trump’s Inauguration (Q&A)

Getty Jennifer Holliday

Less than 24 hours after being named, with fanfare, as one of President-elect Donald Trump’s headliners for his inauguration concert, Jennifer Holliday canceled her appearance.

The singer, along with country artists like Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith and rock band 3 Doors Down, was set to perform at the Lincoln Memorial on January 19 for what is titled the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration.”

Shortly after the Broadway singer publicly made the decision, she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what happened. (This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity).

What was the reasoning behind accepting an offer to perform at the official Trump celebration concert?

My initial thinking is that I have sung for Presidents in the past and it was presented to me as a welcome concert for the people. That’s what I focused on, the “for the people” part. I’m thinking, “This will be great, I’ll have an opportunity to represent and have my voice be healing and unifying out on the Mall at the Lincoln Memorial.” So that’s really what I was thinking and, regretfully, I did not take into account what that symbolized to other people.

I was really thinking that it was going to be for America and participating in history and especially because it was going to be the day before the inauguration and I’m thinking it’s just a concert of music out on the Mall.

What type of feedback have you been hearing since the announcement went out yesterday morning?

It’s amazing because I’m not a person that gets a lot of attention or that seeks a lot of attention. And I’ve spent all day yesterday and all last night reading all the terrible things that people were saying about me.

And even being called by my own black people a “n—–,” a “house n—–,” “c–n, “Uncle Tom,” people suggesting I should kill myself, a “traitor,” all kinds of things. It…