Tony Award-winner (and original Dreamgirl) Jennifer Holliday has confirmed she’s accepted an offer to perform as part of Donald Trump’s inauguration celebrations.
However, she wasn’t quite ready for the backlash that followed. She told Billboard that she woke the day after the news was announced to reams of abuse online.
“I was like, nobody knows that I’m alive and then I decide to sing a song and I wake up and they all hate me,” she explained.
Jennifer is not a Trump supporter and admits she actually voted for Hillary Clinton in the recent election. However, she’s performed for presidents of both political parties before, including the Reagans, both members of the Bush family, and the Clintons.
She also insists her decision to perform at Trump’s inauguration celebration is not political, but for the people of America.
“I haven’t even endorsed anything,” she revealed.
“I’m not singing for Donald Trump; I’m singing to welcome the people of America. He cannot be the only face that’s gonna represent us. And just to have all white people up there singing is not going to be a fair representation either.”
Adding:” So you’re just saying don’t go? Really? I’m just very disheartened by it that it would be so much hate.”
Later explaining further that she’s simply following President Obama’s call for unity and a peaceful transition.
“I thought that they [The Obama’s] told us to move on and try to be hopeful and make this a smooth transition. I didn’t understand that the orders were a wink and a nod to make sure that America doesn’t succeed or that Trump doesn’t succeed.” Adding: “I thought we were just trying to pull together.”
Jennifer is most well known for her Tony Award-winning performance of Effie White in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls. She recently featured in the Broadway production of The Color Purple as Shug Avery. The show closed at the start of January.
“I have been unable to see how my singing helps Donald Trump or how that does anything for America or what we’re trying to do by my not singing,” she continued to tell Billboard. “If we’re protesting and we’re going to have a show with all white people on it and nobody black’s gonna be on it, I don’t understand that either.”
With cautious optimism, she ended: “Hopefully, maybe, this will work out in the end. And, if not, I will not be killing myself. I will not be committing suicide over this.
“If everyone’s trying to say that’s the end of my career, then I guess that will have to be, but I’m going to believe that that won’t be and that maybe other people will try to also see what we can do to unite the country on what little hope of togetherness we have left.”
Jennifer isn’t the only act performing at the event. Singer Jackie Evancho, who has a trans sister, revealed she’s been labelled a ‘traitor’ for agreeing to perform. Stars believed to have declined such an offer from Donald Trump’s team include Celine Dion, Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Church.
Here’s Jennifer in the Broadway’s The Color Purple.