Jennifer Holliday elaborated on why she dropped out of her scheduled performance at Donald Trump’s inauguration during an appearance on The View on Tuesday, January 17. Watch what she said in the clip above.
The Dreamgirls star, 56, recalled the morning after the President-elect’s camp announced she would take the stage during the festivities on Thursday, January 19, at Lincoln Memorial. “I woke up, and there was like this whole thing of terrible tweets and things on my Instagram, and I was like, ‘Oh, Lord, what did I do?’” she said. “I live a pretty reclusive life. I pretty much stay to myself. You’re not on the radio and then one morning you wake up and everybody hates you.”
The Broadway star said she agreed to sing at first because “I’m an artist and I love America.” She has previously performed for Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and Democratic president Bill Clinton.
“It didn’t dawn on me that this was a bad thing and we’re not doing America right now,” she continued. “It was my really honest desire that my voice could be used — not everybody loves the way I sing, but still — my voice could be used as an instrument of healing and unity, and I thought we had instructions from the Obamas and the Clintons that it was a go-ahead. We were going to do a ceasefire for one day, and I just thought it was OK.”
The Grammy and Tony winner revealed that she received death threats and was called the N-word. “They were saying I should kill myself or someone should kill me all over singing a song,” she said.
Amid the backlash, Holliday announced that she was canceling her appearance in an open letter published by The Wrap to the LGBT community, in which she apologized for her “lapse of judgment.” She offered a further explanation to The View cohosts, saying, “The lapse of judgement was that I didn’t realize that people weren’t really over the election. Things started back up again. You start remembering things and fires start burning.”
In the letter, she expressed regret for being “uneducated” on important issues affecting her LGBT fans. “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,” 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.”
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