Talladega College, a historically black college in Alabama, has accepted an invitation for its marching band to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Yahoo News is reporting. The decision has caused outrage among some former students.
Talladega College was founded in 1867 by the descendants of slaves who built the college’s first building. Like many traditionally black schools, its marching band – the Marching Tornadoes – takes things to another level on the field.
However, performing on the football field doesn’t carry any political baggage. Performing at a presidential inauguration — particularly, a president who has faced allegations of racism — can be seen by some as a political statement. That’s especially true for a traditionally black college.
And on Talladega College’s social media accounts, current and former students are expressing shock and disdain at the decision to perform at Trump’s inauguration.
Shirley Ferrill: “We were a bit horrified to hear of the invitation. I don’t want my alma mater to give the appearance of supporting him. Ignore, decline or whatever, but please don’t send our band out in our name to do that.”
Seinya SamForay: “After how black people were treated at Trump’s rallies, you’re going to go and shuck and jive down Pennsylvania Avenue? For what? What they did is a slap in the face to other black universities.”
— Mark Bullock (@markb_wsfa) January 3, 2017
Not everyone is convinced, however, that the Marching Tornadoes should skip Trump’s inauguration. Ron White (not the comedian of the same name), himself a graduate of a different historically black college — Fort Valley State University in Georgia — thinks Talladega College should regard the invitation as an opportunity to show respect to the office of the President, as well as to America.
“What they should do in my opinion is play that national anthem the best way they’ve ever played it in their life, because you’re basically saluting the country.”
The Trump team has struggled to line up performers for Trump’s inauguration, and as of this writing, most of the performers who have agreed to perform aren’t exactly big names in entertainment.
Trump inaugural committee announces list of participants for parade, says additional groups might be announced “in the future” pic.twitter.com/rtTvzLyR2y
— Chris Snyder (@ChrisSnyderFox) December 30, 2016
By comparison, Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 brought A-List celebrities such as Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, and Steven Spielberg, among others, as the Daily Mail reported at the time.
And among some of the groups who have agreed to perform at Trump’s inauguration, the decision has been met with controversy among the individual members. For example, The Rockettes — the precision dancers of Radio City Music Hall — have accepted an invitation to perform, and several members have said they’ll skip that particular gig, according to Rolling Stone. Similarly, about a third of the members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir won’t be going to Washington to perform for Trump, according to this Inquisitr report. One member has even quit the group rather than be associated, however obliquely, with Donald Trump. And at New York’s Marist College, a handful of members of the marching band have said they’ll be sitting out the band’s planned performance at Trump’s inauguration.
Trump, for his part, has blown off suggestions that performers are avoiding his inauguration. In a December 22 tweet, Trump insisted that A-list celebrities are lining up for his inauguration, but he’s eschewing them in favor of the common people.
The so-called “A” list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
Do you believe that Talladega College was right to accept an invitation to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration?
[Featured Image by Timothy Holle/Shutterstock]