Rebecca Ferguson Is Latest Artist to Turn Down Trump Inauguration Invite
“We are here to love, not judge, or bring people down.”
The search to fill out the roster of entertainers at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration Jan. 20 continues as British singer Rebecca Ferguson bowed out of the running today.
Trump’s team invited Ferguson to perform several weeks ago, but it was unclear if Trump would then accept Ferguson’s offer to perform, because she insisted on singing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” a searing and bitter lament of all the lynchings of black men and women that have occurred in the Southern US.
Needless to say, singing “Strange Fruit” would essentially be a protest of Trump’s presidency, who has been widely criticized for racist remarks and pandering to racism.
“I requested to sing ‘Strange Fruit’ as I felt it was the only song that would not compromise my artistic integrity and also as somebody who has a lot of love for all people, but has a special empathy as well for African American people and the #blacklivesmatter movement, I wanted to create a moment of pause for people to reflect,” Ferguson wrote in an official statement.
The pool of potential artists for the celebration is dwindling. There are less than 10 days until the inauguration and the day’s musical schedule is skimpy. The only solo performer booked for the day is Jackie Evancho, a 16-year old former contestant of “America’s Got Talent.” Evancho has twice performed for events hosted by President Barack Obama.
The other talent booked includes the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Rockettes, and The Talladega Marching Tornadoes.
Ferguson’s delayed rejection is another in a long line of artists who have reportedly refused to perform that includes Elton John, Garth Brooks, Idina Menzel, John Legend, The Chainsmokers, Ice T, Adam Lambert, David Foster, The Dixie Chicks, The 1975, Motley Crue, Zara Larsson, Andrea Bocelli, George Lopez, and others.
I just got call to perform at the Inauguration…. I didn’t pick up and Blocked the number.— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) December 16, 2016
And these are just the artists who have rejected invitations to perform.
Countless other musicians have spoken out against Trump and all that he stands for. On Sunday, Meryl Streep used the occasion of her lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes to denounce Trump’s bullying and bigotry.
While Trump will still find performers for Jan. 20, the art world seems pretty decisively against his candidacy.
As Ferguson said, “We are here to love, not judge, or bring people down.”