Despite intense backlash from fans, fellow musicians and civil rights leaders, several prominent black entertainers performed during last weekend’s inauguration events, and were paid hefty sums to do so.
Sources close to President Trump’s inaugural committee told DailyMail.com that the new leader was reluctant to have African American performers at his celebrations.
‘He felt as though black people did not support his campaign for president, why should they be rewarded with an opportunity?’ the insider told DailyMail.com.
Omarosa Manigault, who has been named director of communications for the White House’s Office of Public Liaison, reportedly told her former Apprentice boss that the ‘optics of a black-out would look terrible,’ according to sources.
Manigault did not respond to repeated requests for comment from DailyMail.com.
Trump conceded and told his team that they should secure diverse talent, but requested ‘mediocre AA artists with a consistent following, but not a big name artist. Just ones who need the opportunity.’
Trump’s team originally approached Tony and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday to perform; she was considered a safe pick, having performed for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Holliday initially accepted the gig, but vicious backlash from fans caused her to back out in less than 24 hours.
‘It was my honest desire that my voice … could be used as an instrument of healing and unity,’ Holliday said on The View of her decision to sing for the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration. The day after she accepted, she woke up to a barrage of hate messages and death threats on social media.
Music legend Sam Moore, known for the famous track Soul Man, admitted in several recent interviews that when he heard Holliday backed out, he called and offered his services to the Trump team. The singer initially asked for $50,000 to perform, but event organizers settled on $47,000 instead.
Typically, artists are not paid to perform at inaugurations, save for travel and production expenses.
Organizers also approached Grammy winner Chrisette Michele, asking the singer to revisit a televised group performance she did for BET’s Celebration of Gospel telecast with gospel singers Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds and Tye Tribbett.
She agree to perform the song, which was actually Greene’s single Intentional, but only if she could do a separate set of her own music. She was paid $250,000 for the gig.
‘Securing Chrisette was easy. Her manager was very excited about the opportunity and surprisingly open to making it all work,’ the source revealed.
The 34-year-old vocalist posted an open letter to fans online that read: ‘Today, I hope that Great Moments begin in peaceful & progressive conversation. I am willing to be a bridge. I don’t mind These Stones, if they allow me to be a voice for the voiceless. I am here, representing you, because this is what matters.’
When news of her participation went public, The Tonight Show’s music director Questlove of The Roots and rapper Talib Kweli both offered to pay Michele not to perform.
Filmmaker Spike Lee also announced that he was canceling her participation in his upcoming Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It.
Michele later spoke to Billboard, claiming that her family disowned her for performing at the inauguration and that Trump snubbed her by not meeting with her afterwards.
She told the publication that the event’s organizers said Trump would come on after her, and therefore would not be able to meet with her.
‘I looked her [the organizer] in the eye and said, “My family has disowned me. If you decide to Google me, you’ll see that America is writing about me in their newspapers. I’m the black poster child for discord right now, and he’s not going to shake my hand?” So no, I didn’t get to meet him,’ Michele said.
Gospel singers McReynolds and Tribbett both passed on performing Intentional with Michele, but management representing two-time Grammy nominee Greene expressed interest.
He was initially offered $50,000 to perform, but his management asked for $100,000. ‘They settled at $90,000,’ the source confirmed.
In a video posted to Instagram, Greene told followers he accepted the invitation to bring ‘the love of Jesus’ to the celebration in the nation’s capital.
‘So I believe this is a door opened from God for me to engage in culture, not to sit back and tolerate or complain, but to help redefine culture,’ he said.
Greene was prohibited, however, from making references to Jesus while performing. Part of the stipulation for his performance was ‘no excessive use of any religious figure in his music.’
‘Basically, don’t be saying Jesus on stage,’ the source added.
Minister Dr. Jamal Bryant, a co-host for the Fox daytime talk show The Preachers, blasted Greene for calling his involvement at the inauguration a ‘ministry opportunity.’
On a Periscope chat, the Baltimore pastor declared: ‘I’m all for free capital. I’m all for you making a living. I’m all for you providing for your family. But do not sell it to the people as if it is something else!’
In addition to the high salary paid to the headlining performances, a gospel choir of 20 backup singers landed $1,500 a piece for singing behind Greene and Moore. The Daily Beast described the choir singers as ‘each with the countenance of a hostage attempting to blink ‘Help’ in Morse code’.
None of the performers had a personal audience with President Trump and fans continued to post messages of disappointment via social media throughout the weekend.
Source: Daily Mail