Jennifer Holliday: Performing for Trump would have made me a hypocrite on LGBT rights
Dreamgirls singer Jennifer Holliday has addressed her hastily-scrapped plans to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie in Broadway musical Dreamgirls, was briefly announced last week as one of the only celebrities set to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration, which takes place this Friday.
However, the singer swiftly cancelled the plans after a hostile reaction online – penning an open letter to her LGBT fans confirming the cancellation.
She wrote: “I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement … 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 fade.”
Speaking on The View, Holliday said: “I was like ‘America!’ but it didn’t dawn on me that this was a bad thing and that we’re not doing America right now. It never really dawned on me… it was just my honest desire that my voice could be used as an instrument of healing and unity.
“I thought we had instructions from the Obamas and Clintons that we were going to do a ceasefire for one day, I just thought it was okay! But we’re not on our way.
“The lapse of judgement was that I didn’t realise people weren’t really over the election. Things started back up again. People have not finished with this.”
Speaking about the horrific backlash, she added: “It did take people to point out to me why it was the wrong decision. The gay community, since Dreamgirls, for 35 years has been faithfully there for me.”
She credited a Daily Beast article which highlighted her past LGBT-inclusive comments and contrasted them with the Trump administration’s anti-LGBT policies, as helping change her mind.
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The performer said: “They threw my own words back to me, and I’m not a liar and a hypocrite and I had to look at my words [to realise].
“The gay community was able to say it’s not just we want to be married, there’s other things going on you’re not aware of.”
The Daily Beast article noted that Mike Pence has previously suggested plans to pare back executive orders signed by President Obama that provide “crucial protections for LGBT workers, including one that states federal contractors can’t be fired on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation”.
One of President-elect Trump’s few direct policy pledges is to sign the First Amendment Defence Act, which would permit businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religion.
Holliday teared up as she recalled some of the abuse she had received, including racist slurs and death threats.