Most people would probably be honored to perform at the presidential inauguration but, there’s one black college marching band being dragged for accepting the invitation. For controversial reasons, many celebrities have declined the opportunity to perform at the event, which is usually held in high regard. But, apparently, one HBCU marching band will be making its way to Washington, D.C. for the inaugural events scheduled for January 20.
According to NPR.org, the Talladega College marching band has accepted the invitation to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. Despite the long list of celebrities who refused to perform, Presidential Inaugural Committee CEO Sara Armstrong claims people all over the country, including the Talladega College marching band, are eager to perform.
“People from every corner of the country have expressed great interest in President-elect Trump’s inauguration and look forward to continuing a salute to our republic that spans more than two centuries,” said Armstrong. She also confirmed Talladega would “be adding their names to the long list of Americans who have honored our country by marching in the inaugural parade.”
— AL.com (@aldotcom) December 31, 2016
Of course, Talladega has garnered mixed responses over the inauguration. Social media users and even Talladega alumni have voiced their frustrations over the upcoming performance. From Twitter to Facebook and even marching band networks and forums, Talladega has left many HBCU supporters appalled. The college has even become a trending hashtag, and Twitter users have had no reservations taking verbal jabs at the college.
Here are some of the tweets.
No respect for a college seeking to play for a man that disrespected others 4 political gain. Shame on Talladega College. #talladegacollege
— W.Gabriel Selassie I (@drwgsi) January 2, 2017
— Its_Me (@UCantBSerious9) January 3, 2017
— P. (@chillin662) January 3, 2017
Talladega graduate, Nikkey Finney, who is also a notable poet and chair in the creative writing and southern studies department at the University of South Carolina, expressed disdain over the upcoming performance arguing the college has “forgotten 150 years of history.”
With so much speculation about Donald Trump’s closeted racism, many people believe the band’s performance is a form of disrespect and disregard for many years of heritage.
“The news that Talladega College has forgotten its steady and proud 150 years of history, by making the decision to not stand in solidarity with other clear-eyed and courageous people, academic institutions, and organizations, protesting the inauguration of one of the most antagonistic, hatred-spewing, unrepentant racists, has simply and unequivocally broken my heart today.”
Finney went on to reiterate the importance of remaining morally conscious and subliminally criticized the college for gravitating to materialistic status while abandoning the core of the institution’s beliefs.
“Historical Black colleges are duty bound to have and keep a moral center and be of great moral consciousness while also teaching its students lessons about life that they will need going forward, mainly, that just because a billionaire — who cares nothing about their 150 years of American existence — invites them to a fancy, gold-plated, dress-up party, they have the moral right and responsibility to say ‘no thank you,’ especially when the blood, sweat, and tears and bodies, of black, brown, and native people are stuffed in the envelope alongside the RSVP.”
Talladega College's Administrators, who are forcing their band members, the "Marching Tornadoes" to march for Trump, a racist is disgusting. pic.twitter.com/j5avn63cfM
— Adam B. Bear (@democraticbear) January 2, 2017
Many avid band heads have taken to BandHead.org with their opinions. For those who don’t know, marching band is considered a sport in the HBCU world. So, of course, the site has been flooded with reactions to Talladega’s decision. In fact, the performance has sparked a heated debate as many argue whether or not the band should be willing to accept exposure in exchange for dignity and respect.
“It’s a Presidential Inauguration, a high profile event. It’s a great experience for the band,” one user posted. Then, there are others who could care less about the status of the event. “All exposure isn’t good exposure,” someone else argued.
What do you think about Talladega College’s decision to play at Donald Trump’s inauguration? Share your thoughts.
[Featured Image via Harry How/Getty Images]