The Talladega College marching band has accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s invitation to perform at his inauguration on January 20.
The band hails from Alabama and is from one of the state’s “oldest private, historically black liberal arts colleges,” according to the Associated Press. They will march alongside 40 other marching bands from all over the country.
While this should be no news at all, it is only because of the community backlash the band’s acceptance sparked.
"We were a bit horrified to hear of the invitation," said Shirley Ferrill, a 1974 graduate. “I don't want my alma mater to give the appearance of supporting him. Ignore, decline or whatever, but please don't send our band out in our name to do that."
A graduate of Georgia’s historically black Fort Valley Stat University, Ron White, said he didn’t understand why the Talladega Tornadoes "should be playing all these patriotic tunes for someone who has degraded us."
But, White added, “What they should do in my opinion is play that national anthem the best way they've ever played it in their life, because you're basically saluting the country.”
Former Mississippi Valley State University marcher Reese Walker said black colleges teach its students that “ignored behavior is condoned behavior” and that was his reason to encourage the Talladega band to decline.
Another marching band from New York, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, said some of its members would be sitting this one out in protest of Trump. Six to eight out of the 100 band members said no to traveling to Washington D.C. for the historic event.
“They don't want to have anything to do with the inauguration or President Trump, and we respect that, and that's their right," Greg Cannon, a school spokesman, said. "We're not looking to put anybody in a spot that conflicts with their personal beliefs.”
Cannon said there would be no repercussions for the few students who are staying behind and that they “will still have a place in the band,” according to the AP report.