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Talladega College Band Should Perform at Trump Inauguration

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required


Like many in the African-American community, I am not too excited about a Donald Trump presidency.


Despite my lack of excitement about the Trump inauguration and presidency, as a Christian I am reminded that I must respect the office of the United States president and continue to pray for world leaders.


Likewise, although many alums from Talladega College, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), may empathize with my lack of excitement, as a college founded on a Christian foundation, the Talladega marching band is doing the right thing by accepting an invitation to perform at the Trump inauguration.


According to AL.com, Talladega College will perform at the Trump inauguration on Jan. 20, while other HBCUs like Howard University declined the invitation.


“We were a bit horrified to hear of the invitation,” said 1974 Talladega College graduate Shirley Ferrill of Fairfield, Ala. 


“I don’t want my alma mater (to give) the appearance of supporting him,” Ferrill continued.  “Ignore, decline or whatever, but please don’t send our band out in our name to do that.”


While Ferrill’s point-of-view is definitely understood, performing at the Trump inauguration might give the band a voice to negate some of Trump’s racist and divisive campaign rhetoric.


Singer Rebecca Ferguson has conditionally agreed to perform at the Trump inauguration if she can sing the protest song “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday.


The runner-up on the United Kingdom’s version of “The X Factor” released a statement, which read: “If you allow me to sing ‘Strange Fruit,’ a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United States for being too controversial.


“A song that speaks to all the disregarded and downtrodden Black people in the United States.  A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington.”


If President-elect Trump allows Ferguson’s song choice it might force him, his administration and his supporters to acknowledge the issues of a community that felt belittled, harassed and/or outright ignored during his 2016 presidential campaign.


The Talladega College marching band could choose from variety of songs that can bring the country together racially and/or speak to the unique issues affecting the Black community and Christian community.


Performing at the Trump inauguration does not mean they are shucking and jiving like some critics have stated.


If the band performs, then all eyes for a moment will be on Talladega College and their voice will not be able to be ignored.


Furthermore, performing for the Trump inauguration might show the difference between Trump detractors and Obama detractors.


Eight years ago, it seemed that many in the Republican Party were so hell bent on derailing the Obama presidency that they did not care if it damaged the country.


In performing at the inauguration, the Talladega College marching band might be able to show how true Christians are supposed to act when things do not go their way.


Although some may totally disagree with Trump’s sometimes-racist rhetoric, we will give him the dignity the office deserves despite the fact that the luxury was not always given to his predecessor.

This article was published on Friday 06 January, 2017.
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