As Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches, now Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Church have turned down the opportunity to perform.
The President-Elect has been struggling to find stars to perform at the ceremony, which will take place in Washington on 20 January.
Former X Factor contestant Ferguson said that she would ‘graciously accept’ the chance to perform – but only on the condition that she could sing Billie Holiday’s iconic 1939 protest song ‘Strange Fruit’, which was written about the surge of African-American lynchings in the early twentieth century by the teacher and poet Abel Meeropol in 1937.
Now, it seems that the idea to tackle racism did not land well with Trump’s camp.
“Due to circumstances beyond my control concerning the offer to perform at the Inauguration Concert, I was thrown into the middle of a political arena last week,” she said. “I wasn’t comfortable with the song choice made on my behalf, and although I’m very blessed to have a gift that gives me amazing opportunities, as a mother and an artist, I had to defend my stance. That is why I made the decision to sing ‘Strange Fruit’ when I was invited.”
She continued: “There are many grey areas about the offer for me to perform that I’m unable to share right now, but I will not be singing. However, I genuinely wish your nation nothing but love.”
Not only that, but now opera sensation, pop singer and rock cover extraordinaire has hit back at a request – slamming Trump as a ‘tyrant’.
@realDonaldTrump Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you're a tyrant. Bye????
— Charlotte Church (@charlottechurch) January 10, 2017
Last year, Church told the New Statesman that she would decline the chance to perform at the ceremony if she was asked “because he is such a tool. Mind you, I sang at George Bush’s inauguration…”
Speaking of the culture of ‘blaming immigrants’ for economic problems, Church said: “Because austerity’s far more complicated, and all this has been engineered: It’s his fault, he’s come over here, he’s taken your job, and there’s all those mosques going up round here, and where’s the churches, even though you don’t go to church . . . It’s mania, hysteria. But it’s good these things had come to the surface. It’s very common to be mildly racist. We need to help people with those fears.”
She added: “Obviously we underestimated how angry white men are. All forms of bigotry – whether it’s homophobia, misogyny, racism – are about fear of being in the minority. And if you hold the majority position – ie, white males throughout history – you fear losing control. We need to find ways to make people feel like they aren’t losing control.”