Skip to navigationSkip to content

Kanye West won’t be performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration—because he wasn’t asked

Reuters/Andrew Kelly
"I made that b**** famous."
  • Amy X. Wang
By Amy X. Wang


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

With much of Hollywood and the music industry refusing to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration this weekend, many people have been asking: Why not bring in Kanye West, the biggest A-list celebrity who has shown public support for the US president-elect, who’s also visited him at a one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower?

As it is, the “GREAT SHOW” lineup consists of a 16-year-old former talent show contestant, unhappy Radio City Rockettes, a handful of country stars, rock band 3 Doors Down, and not much else. Celebrity-wise, it just doesn’t compare to the stars that Barack Obama snagged for his inaugurations, which included Shakira, Beyoncé, Yo-Yo Ma, and Aretha Franklin. Even George W. Bush had fellow Texan Jessica Simpson at his affair.

Real estate investor Tom Barrack, who is chairing the 2017 presidential inauguration committee, explained West’s absence from the performance lineup to CNN’s Erin Burnett this week.

The exchange:

Erin Burnett: “People have now said Kanye would maybe want to perform. Will he?”

Tom Barrack: “No. We haven’t asked him. I mean he’s been great, he—he considers himself a friend of the president-elect. But it’s not the venue. The venue we have for entertainment is filled out, it’s perfect, it’s going to be typically and traditionally American, and Kanye is a great guy, we just haven’t asked him to perform… as we move on with our agenda.”

Meanwhile, inauguration attendance is looking sparse enough that paid advertisements for the event are popping up on Facebook.

The question someday might be whether West, who has professed political aspirations of his own, will take the high road and invite Trump to his presidential inauguration—should such an event come to pass.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.