Musicians Who Refused to Perform at Trump’s Inauguration

President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration is going to have “soft sensuality” – whatever that means – according to planner Tom Barrack. What it definitely won’t have are any A-list performers.

Trump’s team has desperately been trying to sign up talent — they allegedly and unsuccessfully even dangled a golden carrot in front of artists, asking them to name their price. Traditionally, the performers at inaugurations, including superstars like Aretha Franklin and Beyonce, have not been paid a penny (except for travel and production costs).

Currently the only confirmed acts are “America’s Got Talent” winner Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (minus one member who quit rather than participate) and the Rockettes (also minus at least one dissenting dancer). On Jan. 12, Paul Anka said he’d perform a new version of “My Way,” but then backed out, claiming he had a scheduling conflict. The next day, Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down agreed to perform.

But who needs big names when an infamous reality TV show host is being sworn into office? “We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect,” Barrack said, in all seriousness.

Here are some of the greater celebrities who were declined invitations to perform at the inauguration.

They Just Said No

Elton John

Sorry did not seem to be the hardest word when Elton John turned down his invitation. After Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci lied on a BBC talk show in November that John would be performing, the singer’s publicist, Fran Curtis, quickly sent a blunt email response.

“Incorrect,” Curtis wrote. “He will NOT be performing.”

John is considered to be one of the most philanthropic artists in the business. The Elton John AIDS Foundation, whose mission is to eradicate the disease, has raised over $350 million since 1992. “I fear for the world, globally, with the AIDS situation … [if] Donald Trump gets to be president,” John told Mic in October. “He’ll marginalize people. He’s already doing it.”

And as for vice president-elect Mike Pence, an avowed Christian who opposes same-sex marriage and supports conversion therapy, John said he is “probably the furthest thing away from Christianity there is.”

Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars

When asked in December on “Fox and Friends” if Trump’s team was trying to book artists like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars for the inauguration, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said yes, definitely. “They can call me, by the way,” she said, winking at the camera. “They can call me.”

Neither Timberlake or Mars picked up the phone. Perhaps Timberlake isn’t interested in performing for a climate-change denier. In 2011 the singer won the Futures Award from the Environmental Media Association for creating Mirimichi in Memphis, the first certified green golf course.

As for Mars ignoring Conway’s plea, he may be busy getting ready for another benefit concert to help end poverty, fight diseases and sustain the environment – issues the Trump administration seems to care little about. In 2013 Mars partnered with other artists to raise awareness and funds for the Global Poverty Project. To raise awareness of breast cancer and funds for the Young Survival Coalition, Mars headlined the “We Can Survive” concert in October at the Hollywood Bowl.

Katy Perry

It’s puzzling why the Trump team invited singer Katy Perry, knowing that she was a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton, had performed at the Democratic National Convention, and had planned to perform on election night at Javits Center in New York City if things had gone differently.

Later in November, Hillary made a surprise appearance to present Perry with UNICEF’s Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award. “I’m happy I’ve helped highlight the effects of climate change, which is real,” Perry said in her acceptance speech. Perry was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2013 and has traveled to impoverished areas around the world to raise awareness about the organization’s programs to help children.

Slowly, I am coming down from the beautiful cloud that was Tuesday night’s @UNICEF Snowflake Ball. First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful to have received the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award from my hero @HillaryClinton. This award will be a constant reminder to get out of my bubble and back into the field to shine a light on issues that matter most, especially to illuminate the plight of vulnerable children who are living without basic human needs and rights. This honor is a starting line, not a finish line, for me, and I am excited for where my new ambition and purpose leads me! I was profoundly moved and thoroughly surprised when Hillary showed up to give me this award. I broke down and wept watching her take the stage. The last time I was in NYC was for Election Night. I left covered in a blanket of sadness and despair because for me, and I imagine others, the results triggered a lot of dormant fears and emotions to the surface. I feared that we were not ever going to see the light of justice or fairness. I felt vulnerable, confused and frightened like a child. From the outside it probably looks as though I’ve always had a “voice.” Truth is, I have never had one like I have found in the past year. I have a found a new voice, a more determined voice. I grew up sheltered, suppressed and kept silent for fear of giving the wrong answer. I would reveal my poor education. Or I was just scared. Hillary helped me see that we’re all in this together, no matter where we come from, what color we are, or what status and education we have or don’t have. Hillary lit a fire inside of me that burns brighter and brighter every day, and that fire will NEVER be put out. Feelings of despair still comes in waves, but now more than ever I am MOTIVATED to fight against social injustice and to promote equality and kindness as best I know how, through my art and influence. I am continually inspired by her strength and how she continues to rise like the Phoenix she is, every time. It’s funny, sometimes people who disagree with me just say, “Shut up and sing.” Boy, will I do so in a whole new way… next year. Hell hath no fury like a woman REBORN.

A photo posted by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on

They Said Yes…then No

Garth Brooks

When asked by TMZ early in December whether he’d consider singing at Trump’s inauguration, the country star replied, “It’s always about serving. It’s what you do.” But then he changed his tune. Back in 2009, Brooks performed at President Obama’s inaugural “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial, and he has headlined benefits that raised millions of dollars to help victims of Tennessee floods and California fires.

Andrea Bocelli

After he performed at Madison Square Garden last month, the Italian opera singer reportedly met personally with Trump, who asked him to perform at his inauguration. Soon the hashtag #BoycottBocelli began going viral, and he changed his mind. Bocelli is involved with several charitable causes, including the Andrea Bocelli Foundation that he launched six years ago to help people with difficulties due to illness, disability, poverty or social exclusion.

Photo credit: Ernst Vikne

247 comments

Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad A9 months ago

Good for them.

SEND
Peggy B
Peggy B10 months ago

TYFS

SEND
Peggy B
Peggy B10 months ago

tyfs

SEND
Veronica D
.10 months ago

Thanks!

SEND
Veronica D
.10 months ago

Thanks!

SEND
Veronica D
.10 months ago

Thanks!

SEND
Past Member
Past Member 10 months ago

Correction. From and repugs.

SEND
Past Member
Past Member 10 months ago

Gmd G. Frim TRUE CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN Shannon Dingle. People like YOU voted in the devil. Lol!! She is not the only one. And you whiny reougs better get used to attacks on trash trump and whore of a wife. It is called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. And READ CONSTITUTION. Morons like you know nothing about FIRST AMENDMENT.

SEND
Past Member
Past Member 10 months ago

Gmd G. Slimy racists came out frim under thier rocks BEFORE he stepped into office. RIGHT WING SLIMY RACIST TERRORIST GROUPS.

SEND