Original Dreamgirls Jennifer Holliday was scheduled to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next week, but now she’s telling you that she’s not going. Maybe the “death threats, suggestions of suicide, warnings of boycott and racial slurs” that she told Billboard she received on social media after announcing the gig got to her? Or there weren’t enough zeroes on the impending White House’s check? Let’s find out!
The Wrap reports that Jennifer, who most recently played Shug Avery in The Color Purple on Broadway, sent them an open letter explaining her decision.
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.”
“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.”
That was quite the about face. Jennifer also told them that the breaking point for her was when she saw a headline on The Daily Beast that read “Jennifer Holliday Will Perform at Trump’s Inauguration, Which Is Heartbreaking to Gay Fans”
Speaking as a gay, my heart wasn’t broken. Honestly, I felt a little sad for the inauguration festivities after reading she bounced. The line-up is Jackie Evancho (who must be thanking everything holy that she’s been in the news so much), professional deplorable Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, and maybe one and a half of the Rockettes. Party! And still no Chachi. What does it say about your career prospects when you can’t even score a slot on this roster? That’s one low rent-event. At least the poor saps attending were getting someone who could blow in Jennifer. Not anymore.
Before Jennifer made her decision to pull out, she talked to Billboard about why she was going through with it initially. She said that she has performed for presidents on both sides of the political aisle and it wasn’t about Trump, it was about “the people of America.”
“I haven’t even endorsed anything,” she says, “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.
Jennifer also spoke on her lack of need for SPF after she announced the gig. The “nobody knows I’m alive” part almost made me tear up. Although it could also be all the cigarette smoke from this Las Vegas casino coffee shop in which I’m typing (don’t ask).
“So you’re just saying don’t go? Really? I’m just very disheartened by it that it would be so much hate. 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.
Not everyone hates you, Ms. Holliday. They have a video night at one of the gay bars in my homeland, and the VJ always play a clip of her performing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” It lasts for approximately 3.5 hours, and that’s when I go to pee because I know I won’t miss any videos that I actually want to see in that timespan. So my heart (and bladder) will always be bidding Jennifer Holliday a sincere “thank-you.”