Less than 24 hours after defiantly confirming her participation as a performer at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, Dreamgirls alum Jennifer Holliday has seemingly had a change of heart.
In the wake of a massive backlash from her mostly gay fan base over her choice to sing for the controversial President-elect during his January 20 Oval Office welcome, the 56-year-old Holliday shared an open letter with The Wrap where she apologizes for signing on to sing for someone that the majority of the LGBT community believes to be an enemy.
“I was asked to sing a song for what was presented to me as the ‘Welcome Concert For The People,’” Holliday explains.
“In my mind, I was reflecting on the past times of being asked to sing for presidents and I only focused on the phrase, ‘for the people.’ [So] I thought, [this is] for America!’”
Continuing on to admit that she hoped that her voice and resonance as an African-American performer could help to unify “our deeply polarized country,” Ms. Holliday then expresses how her intentions for performing at the Trump inauguration could be easily misread by others.
“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 [Vice President-elect] Mike Pence,” she says.
After next noting a Daily Beast article by writer Kevin Fallon where he lays out all the ways the gay community have helped Ms. Holliday to maintain her prominence decades after her most well-regarded act, the actress mentions that her dedication to her fans far outweighs this particular moment in the spotlight.
“In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I will not perform for the welcome concert or any of the inauguration festivities,” she wrote in nearly all caps.
Just as with the news of her involvement in Trump’s party spread like wildfire on social media, fans of Ms. Holliday, who recently completed a stint in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, took to sites like Twitter to quickly thank her for pulling out of the event.
Interestingly, however, Holliday seemed more than fine with resigning her place in entertainment and in the hearts of her LGBT followers early Friday evening when she first confirmed in a New York Times interview that she would be taking part in what Team Trump recently referred to as, an inauguration ball of “soft sensuality.”
“It [has already] brought a lot of threats from people already saying I’ll never work again,” Ms. Holliday partly remarked.
“If it’s the end of everything for me, then it has to be the end of everything for me. I would hope that’s not how it ends up, but right now I would like to be a part of a welcoming part of America.”
Closing her letter, Ms. Holliday once again makes amends to the gay men who felt deceived by her choice to attend the Trump shindig, while also thanking them again for their dedication and appreciation of her talent.
“Please know that I hear you and I feel your pain,” she remarks.
“The LGBT community [have been] mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you [all]. You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded. Thank you for communicating with me. I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.”
She signs off her note, “with love and appreciation, Jennifer Holliday — ‘The Original Dreamgirl.’”
[Featured Image by Gary Gershoff/Stringer/Drew Angerer/Getty Images]