After first defending her decision to sing at Donald Trump's inauguration next week, Grammy- and Tony-winning Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has backed out of the performance.
The longtime advocate for LGBT rights and HIV funding said a "lapse in judgment" was behind her decision to perform at the deeply divisive and unpopular president-elect's swearing-in ceremony on Friday. While the Hillary Clinton-voter initially defended her performance as non-political, by Saturday she had a change of heart.
In a contrite letter, Holliday deeply apologized for her actions, repeatedly thanking LGBT fans who have supported her since she broke out in the early 1980s as the original Effie White in Broadway's Tony-winning Dreamgirls. Read it below, via The Wrap (oddly, Holliday's name is spelled wrong in the signature):
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Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having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,
“The Original DreamGirl”
Holliday won a Tony in 1982 for her role in Dreamgirls and a Grammy in 1983 for her song from the musical, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." She most recently appeared on Broadway's The Color Purple, with Bill and Hillary Clinton attending the closing show.