Broadway Star Jennifer Holliday Has Pulled Out Of Trump's Inauguration Concert

The singer apologized 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.”

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Updated on

Tony Award-winning Broadway star Jennifer Holliday on Saturday pulled out of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration concert, after previously spending days defending her initial decision to participate.

The actress and singer, known for her role in Dreamgirls and her signature song "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," said that her decision to perform was a "lapse in judgement."

In an open letter first provided to The Wrap and later to BuzzFeed News, the star apologized to the LGBT community, saying she was sorry 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.”

“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 said.

Holliday had initially defended her decision to participate in the Jan. 19 concert, saying she would sing "for the people."

“We’ve become such a polarized country — we’re not listening to what the Obamas have said,” she told the New York Times. “They told us to move forward with hope — they didn’t tell us to stop participating — I didn’t hear that in Obama’s speech.”

But she said in her letter on Saturday that she had changed her mind after coming to understand the pain that her appearance would cause her LGBT fans.

“Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain," she said. "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.”

Here's the full letter:

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Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a "bi-partisan songbird" having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 Sincerly [sic] 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,

JENNIFER HOLLIDAY
"The Original DreamGirl"

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

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