South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - CATHY OWEN Re­porter cathy.owen@waleson­

CHAR­LOTTE CHURCH has turned down an of­fer to sing at Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion next week.

The Cardiff-born singer said his staff had been in touch ask­ing her to sing at the event on Jan­uary 20.

But she told them on Twit­ter: “A sim­ple in­ter­net search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye.” She in­cluded a se­ries of poo emo­jis in her tweet.

Char­lotte’s fans were quick to con­grat­u­late her, with one tweet­ing: “Ha! Bril­liant! Let’s place bets now on how long be­fore he says ei­ther a) he hasn’t asked you or b) you’re over­rated!”

An­other asked: “Have you con­sid­ered say­ing yes and then singing some­thing re­ally in­ap­pro­pri­ate for a laugh?”

But TV pre­sen­ter Piers Mor­gan, who’s spo­ken favourably of Trump in the past, poured scorn on Char­lotte’s story, telling her: “Oh pur-lease, he’s never heard of you, you ridicu­lous crea­ture.”

There has been con­tro­versy over who is go­ing to sing when he is of­fi­cially sworn in as pres­i­dent of the United States. Last week, X Fac­tor star Rebecca Fer­gu­son said she has agreed to per­form at Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony in Washington as long as she gets to pick the song.

The Liver­pool singer wanted to sing the civil rights an­them Strange Fruit made fa­mous by the jazz singer Bil­lie Hol­i­day.

Yes­ter­day, she said she has now re­fused out­right to sing at the con­cert.

In a state­ment, Fer­gu­son wrote: “There are many grey ar­eas about the of­fer for me to per­form that I’m un­able to share right now, but I will not be singing.”

Strange Fruit, made fa­mous by Bil­lie Hol­i­day, was orig­i­nally a poem about racism and lynch­ing in Amer­ica’s Deep South and in­cludes the lines: “Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, black bod­ies swing­ing in the south­ern breeze.”

Fer­gu­son said: “Due to cir­cum­stances be­yond my con­trol con­cern­ing the of­fer to per­form at the In­au­gu­ra­tion Con­cert, I was thrown into the mid­dle of a po­lit­i­cal arena last week.

“I wasn’t com­fort­able with the song choice made on my be­half, and although I’m very blessed to have a gift that gives me amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, as a mother and an artist, I had to de­fend my stance.

“That is why I made the de­ci­sion to sing Strange Fruit when I was in­vited.

“I re­quested to sing Strange Fruit as I felt it was the only song that would not com­pro­mise my artis­tic in­tegrity and also as some­body who has a lot of love for all peo­ple, but has a spe­cial em­pa­thy as well for African Amer­i­can peo­ple and the #black­lives­mat­ter move­ment, I wanted to cre­ate a moment of pause for peo­ple to re­flect.”

The only per­form­ers con­firmed to ap­pear so far are the Mor­mon Taber­na­cle Choir, and singer Jackie Evan­cho, of Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent, who will sing the na­tional an­them.

The Ra­dio City Rock­ettes will be danc­ing at the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony, but their em­ploy­ers have said no dancer will be com­pelled to at­tend.

It has been re­ported that El­ton John, Ce­line Dion and opera singer An­drea Bo­celli have al­ready turned down of­fers to per­form at the event.


Char­lotte Church says Don­ald Trump’s staff had asked her to sing at his in­au­gu­ra­tion later this month

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