How celebrities will protest around Trump's inauguration

Stars from Katy Perry to Cher will be involved in protests, telethons and concerts to show their lack of support for the new US president

There won’t be many celebrities at Donald Trump’s inauguration on Thursday. But there will be plenty protesting against Trump on his second day in office.

Scarlett Johansson, Katy Perry and Trump’s longtime adversary Cher will be among those taking part in the Women’s March on Washington on 21 January, the day after the inauguration.

And during the ceremony itself, other A-listers will be hosting a live telethon – officially called a “Love-a-thon” – to raise money for Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Presidential inaugurations have traditionally been star-studded affairs. Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson performed at Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013. Aretha Franklin sang at his first in 2009. Bob Dylan performed at Bill Clinton’s inaugural concert in 1993, and Fleetwood Mac reformed to play his inauguration gala.

Frank Sinatra actually organized John F Kennedy’s inaugration gala in 1961, while even George W Bush managed to get Ricky Martin to play for him.

But this time around most of the country’s rich and famous will be engaged elsewhere. The Women’s March on Washington, which takes place the day after Trump’s swearing-in, is expected to be the main protest against the new president. Technically the march is a collection of demonstrations around the US, although the largest will be in the capital, with more than 200,000 expected in Washington DC alone.

The protest will feature dozens of activist groups, with Ugly Betty actor America Ferrera chairing an “artist table” subset. Johansson, Amy Schumer, Julianne Moore and singer Zendaya are expected to march in Washington DC or elsewhere, or at least express dissatisfaction in some form.

Comedian and actor Chelsea Handler will lead a corresponding women’s march in Park City, Utah, on Saturday. The demonstration will take place during the Sundance film festival.

“Women are under a right-wing political assault,” Handler wrote in the Hollywood Reporter. “And I intend to fight back with all my might against a Republican president, a Republican Congress and the radical, religious right who are drooling to defund Planned Parenthood health services nationwide.”

Katy Perry is another performer who will be demonstrating against Trump. On 11 January Perry, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, released a video titled “Don’t normalize hate”, in reaction to Trump’s calls for a Muslim registry.

Cher, who has been feuding with Trump on Twitter for over six years, is expected to attend one of the marches. In August 2015 the singer compared Trump to Godzilla, and the next month she suggested throwing the businessman into a volcano.

Trump, who is notoriously unwilling or unable to ignore criticism, has characterised Cher as having a “dying career”. As is the president-elect’s wont, he has also criticized her appearance, and has claimed that he “knocked the shit” out of the singer during their Twitter exchanges.

The dearth of talent at Trump’s inauguration is not for lack of trying. Celine Dion, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli and Garth Brooks all reportedly declined invitations to perform. Gene Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed, told TMZ that Kiss had been invited to appear at the inauguration – the glam rock band would have been a particularly avant garde choice – but also refused.

Instead the headline act on Trump’s big day will be Jackie Evancho, who took part in America’s Got Talent six years ago and has since released several albums. Country music singer Toby Keith and rock band 3 Doors Down will perform the day before the inauguration, at a “Make America great again welcome celebration”, although that event will compete with an anti-Trump, pro-Planned Parenthood concert, which will feature the rapper Common and the popular rock band the National.

For his part, Trump has said the inauguration ceremony will be “very, very special, very beautiful”, without offering specifics.

On 10 January Tom Barrack, the chair of Trump’s presidential inaugural committee, offered a little more information when he said the plan for the day was “to surround [Trump] with the soft sensuality of the place”.

“We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect,” Barrack said in response to questions about the lack of A-list talent.

While the main protests against Trump will be the day after he takes his oath, the Love-a-thon is planned for during the ceremony. Jane Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis, Judd Apatow and Christopher Guest are among those who will appear on Facebook Live, with viewers encouraged to donate to Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union through fundraising platform Crowdrise.

If all that wasn’t quite enough, there is also the “Our First Hundred Days” project, which involves a collective of musicians releasing a song a day for the first 100 days of Trump’s tenure.

Angel Olsen, Whitney, Beach Fossils, and Minus the Bear are some of the artists involved. They aim to “protect the causes that will come under threat from this administration”.

It costs $30 to subscribe, money which will go to organizations working on climate change, women’s rights and immigration.


Adam Gabbatt

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Two million protest against Trump's inauguration worldwide
Half a million in Washington DC alone – mostly women – gathered to proclaim the birth of new political movement

Robert Booth and Alexandra Topping

22, Jan, 2017 @6:40 PM

Article image
Rebecca Ferguson says she will play Trump inauguration if she can sing Strange Fruit
British singer says she would appear at the ceremony if she could perform anti-lynching anthem popularized by Billie Holiday

Amber Jamieson in New York

02, Jan, 2017 @11:04 PM

Article image
'Performing is a political statement': who will play Donald Trump's inauguration?
For some, the great honor of performing for the president has been tainted with risk, as Trump’s team struggles to find high-profile acts for inauguration day

Rob LeDonne

28, Dec, 2016 @11:00 AM

Article image
Samantha Bee on Trump's inauguration reaction: 'An exquisitely tender ego'
Host of Full Frontal ridiculed the reality TV star-turned-president’s weekend of bad music, low attendance and embarrassing comments

Guardian staff

26, Jan, 2017 @4:02 PM

Article image
Toby Keith ends Trump's struggle to find inauguration headliner
Country music star joins 3 Doors Down and singer Jennifer Holliday in Donald Trump’s inauguration lineup, after only one previous act had been confirmed

Amanda Holpuch in New York

13, Jan, 2017 @12:00 PM

Article image
Socialist Venezuela chipped in $500,000 to Trump's inauguration
Affiliate of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company made donation even as President Nicolás Maduro accuses US of plotting to ovethrow him

Julian Borger in Washington

20, Apr, 2017 @3:51 AM

Article image
Vote Hollywood: ranking this presidential election's celebrity PSAs
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Scarlett Johansson are just some of the A-listers urging Americans to make a difference, but which star deserves your vote?

Dave Schilling

28, Oct, 2016 @6:35 PM

Article image
Bruce Springsteen tribute band say Trump inauguration gala is 'non-political'
The B Street Band, who are set to play Garden State Gala on 20 January, appeared at both of Obama’s inaugurations and were booked for this year’s event in 2013

Guardian music

13, Jan, 2017 @9:14 AM

Article image
How the world reacted to Trump's inauguration as US president
Caution in China, sorrow and anger in Mexico, cork-popping in Moscow – here are some of the global responses to Friday’s power handover

Philip Oltermann, Kate Connolly, Tom Phillips, Wang Zhen, Nina Lakhani, Shaun Walker, Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Alexandra Topping, Sofia Fischer, Peter Beaumont and agencies

21, Jan, 2017 @9:59 AM

Article image
The Beach Boys consider playing at Trump inauguration
After a string of music stars decline the president-elect’s invitation to perform, a spokesperson for the band says no decision has yet been made

Guardian music

23, Dec, 2016 @9:56 AM