Despite the controversy over celebrities performing for Donald Trump, Country music superstar Toby Keith headlined a pre-inaugural concert on January 19 welcoming the new president to Washington, D.C. But Keith’s appearance wasn’t a defiant expression of Republicanism. Unlike those celebrities who refused to perform on political grounds, Keith didn’t regard performing or not performing at the inauguration as a partisan statement.
Instead, Keith’s reasons for appearing on stage transcended politics.
When news broke that Keith had accepted the invitation from the Trump inaugural committee, there was a considerable backlash on social media. One of the most insulting came from the tweeter “glitterbitch.” In the tweet, “glitterbitch” dehumanized and then stereotyped the Oklahoma-born Keith.
Keith offered no apologies about performing at the inauguration.
“I don’t apologize for performing for our country or military,” Keith told Entertainment Weekly after accepting Trump’s invitation.
Keith’s unapologetic patriotism was in stark contrast to other celebrities who either rejected the Trump committees’ invitation on political grounds or bowed out because of a backlash from politicized fans.
Welsh singer Charlotte Church flat out refused Trump’s invitation. Her tweeted rebuff in January managed to be both political and scatological.
Others who declined performing at the inauguration took a higher ground but were nonetheless political. Upon learning that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was performing for Trump, a member of the non-partisan group resigned. The unidentified member said singing at the inauguration would have caused her a loss of “self-respect.”
A Rockette named Phoebe Pearl was “embarrassed” that the dancing troupe was appearing as per tradition at the inauguration. Pearl equated her participation with the Rockettes at the inauguration as validating Trump’s supposed misogyny.