Singers Charlotte Church and Rebecca Ferguson have both said they turned down invitations to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Former X Factor contestant Rebecca previously said she would accept the offer if she could perform protest song Strange Fruit. However, she has now confirmed she will not be taking part in the Washington DC ceremony.
Charlotte has also claimed she has been approached by members of the president-elect’s team, adding she thinks he is a “tyrant”.
In a statement, Rebecca wrote: “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.”
Strange Fruit, made famous by Billie Holiday, was originally a poem about racism and lynching in America’s Deep South and includes the lines: “Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.”
Rebecca, 30, said: “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.
“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.
“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.
@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
“I believe talent is a gift that should be used to heal the wounds of this world and make the world a better place to live in. As music is so powerful, I wanted to try and help educate the people watching of where division and separation can lead to if not corrected. My aim was not to cause contention.”
Welsh singer Charlotte, also 30, said she was also approached to perform at the January 20 ceremony and tweeted her reply to the president-elect.
The Radio City Rockettes will be dancing at the inauguration but their employers have said no dancer will be compelled to attend.
They will join The Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the swearing-in ceremony, where America’s Got Talent star Jackie Evancho will be singing the US national anthem.