Talladega Band In Trouble
The historically black Talladega College has ignited such controversy by accepting an invitation for its band to march in Donald Trump’s inaugural parade, that the college president is now being forced to reconsider the decision.
Talladega College was founded by former slaves in 1857 and is Alabama’s oldest private, historically black liberal arts college. The Talladega College Marching Tornadoes band accepted an invitation to participate in Trump’s January 20th inaugural parade, however, that decision has since been met with immediate backlash from current students, alumni, civil rights groups, and African-Americans from coast to coast.
“We were a bit horrified to hear of the invitation,” said Shirley Ferrill of Fairfield, Alabama, a member of Talladega’s Class of 1974. “Ignore, decline or whatever, but please don’t send our band out in our name to do that.”
Talladega College deserves all the backlash they’re getting !!
— Jas ???? (@jasdasavage) January 2, 2017
Shame on #talladegacollege ! Do not sell your souls! I hope there are protests and discussions underway on campus to stop this outrage.
— Marilyn Richardson (@MarilynElaine) January 2, 2017
“After how black people were treated at Trump’s rallies, you’re going to go and shuck and jive down Pennsylvania Avenue? For what?” Seinya SamForay said in an interview. “What they did is a slap in the face to other black universities.”
College President Billy C. Hawkins has since been presented with 2 petitions: one organized by current student Dollan Young in favor of performing, and the other by Talladega graduate Shirley Ferrill against participating.
“In view of his behavior and comments, I strongly do not want Talladega College to give the appearance of supporting him,” Ferrill wrote in her petition, which had garnered more than 900 supporters as of Tuesday night.
“We believe that this parade is not about politics it’s about seeing first hand the process of a transition,” Talladega student and band member Dollan Young wrote in his petition, which had garnered close to 200 signatures by Tuesday night. He added that taking part in the inaugural would not be in support of a political party, but rather “about the experience that the students will obtain.”
The discussion in favor of and against participating has sparked a passionate debate.
Band member Shylexis Robinson said she was excited about the invitation and felt the performance would “put our school on the map.” She added that the band’s participation wasn’t “about Donald Trump himself, it’s about our school. And I’m all about our school and all about the band.”
Edna Garrett, of Talladega disagreed, saying that any association with Trump and negativity surrounding him wouldn’t benefit Talladega.
“I don’t really see how it would uplift the school in any way,” she said.
Despite the nearly 150-year history of the college, the 297-member marching band was only founded in 2012 and has since received limited exposure.
Hawkins is expected to announce his decision later today.
To date, only 3 acts have accepted invitations to perform for Donald Trump at his inauguration: the Radio City Rockettes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 16-year-old “America’s Got Talent” star Jackie Evancho.
The Mormon choir has performed at 5 previous presidential inaugurations. However, vocalist Jan Chamberlin chose to quit the choir rather that sing for Trump, saying the performance would betray her values.
Members of the Radio City Rockettes begged their performer’s union for a provision not to entertain Trump. Following an online public protest from dancer Phoebe Pearl, the Madison Square Garden Company (which owns Radio City) has since said in a statement that individual Rockettes will not be compelled to participate at the inauguration.
As Donald Trump’s entertainment options continue to crumble, at least one performer is eager to perform — under one condition.
Rebecca Ferguson, a former runner-up on the British reality TV talent competition “X Factor,” said she will happily accept Trump’s invitation to sing if she is allowed to perform the tune “Strange Fruit.”
The song, which was made famous by the late jazz singer Billie Holiday, is in protest of racism and lynching in the South. “Strange Fruit” is also a term many Americans consider Trump to be.
As more and more performers continue to drop out or simply refuse to have anything to do with the upcoming inauguration, Donald Trump has predictably gone on the defensive.
After literally begging A-list celebrities to entertain and even offering 6 to 7 figure performance salaries to no avail, the incoming White House occupant is now trying to save face, claiming he only wants “the PEOPLE” at his inauguration.
“The so-called ‘A’ list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!