Trump team’s inauguration performers face pressure as Jennifer Holliday backs out
Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down are among the listed performers.
After weeks of speculation, Donald Trump’s inaugural committee has shared its list of performers for next week’s celebrations.
Country music star Toby Keith, rock band 3 Doors Down and patriotic staple Lee Greenwood join a roster that includes “America’s Got Talent” runner-up Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Bruce Springsteen cover band the B Street Band and the Radio City Rockettes.
“I’m honored to be part of history again and sing for President-elect Donald Trump,” said Greenwood, best known for his signature song “God Bless the USA.” “This is a time to overcome challenges in our country and band together.”
“President-elect Trump has made it clear that this inaugural is of, by, and for the American people,” committee chairman Tom Barrack said in a statement released Friday. “The 58th Inaugural will celebrate American history and heritage, while setting the course to a brighter and bolder future for all Americans.
“Above all,” Barrack continued, “it will serve as tribute to one of our greatest attributes, the peaceful transition of partisan power.”
But performing for Trump comes with its own risks and challenges.
Tony Award winner Jennifer Holliday was included in Friday’s official announcement as a scheduled performer, sparking criticism from fans.
At first, Holliday’s publicist, Bill Carpenter, told the Wrap on Friday, “Jennifer has been asked to perform, but she hasn’t officially agreed to do so yet.”
Holliday was, however, taking the offer seriously. She told AP on Friday, “I didn’t see it as singing for Trump; I saw it as singing for the people on the mall.”
But on Saturday, Holliday backed out of the performance with a statement that acknowledged the LGBT support she’s enjoyed 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!” 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.”
Evancho, 16, has been under fire in the weeks since her participation was announced.
“I hope to just kind of make everyone forget about rivals and politics for a second and just think about America and the pretty song that I’m singing,” Evancho told CBS News in an interview scheduled to air on “CBS Sunday Morning” on Sunday. “I’m hoping that I can bring people together.”
All of Friday’s announced performers can be found on the official inauguration website here.
Jan. 14, 11:25 a.m.: This article was updated with news that Jennifer Holliday will not perform at the inauguration of Donald Trump.
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