While news outlets have included her on the list of celebrities headed to the site of next week’s Republican National Convention (which begins July 18), Martina McBride says she’s visiting Cleveland for one reason — to raise money for the arts.
The four-time Country Music Association winner is scheduled to perform Wednesday night at the Creative Coalition’s benefit gala. The nonpartisan arts advocacy group works to increase public funding for the arts and advocates for arts education in public schools. The nonprofit will host a similar concert with Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie July 27 in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.
“I don’t have a particular political bent,” McBride tells Billboard. “I’m one of those people who takes everything into consideration and I go with the person who is going to do the best job. Right now, I just don’t know. I wish we could hit the reset button and start over!”
Of her scheduled appearance in Cleveland, the singer — who’s working on her upcoming album — says: “For me, it’s not about a candidacy and it’s not about a party. It’s strictly about raising money to support the arts. The arts can change lives and they’re being taken out of the schools. It’s a battle.”
And while she acknowledges Clinton’s history-making campaign as the first female presumptive nominee for president, the singer says she doesn’t vote on the basis of gender alone. “It doesn’t come down to whether the candidate is a man or a woman for me. I just do what I think is right. I don’t have a particular criteria. I’m not going to vote for her just because she’s a woman,” explains McBride. “I hope none of us base our votes on gender alone. I’m probably pissing a lot of people off by saying that.”
The singer says she hasn’t been following the news reports detailing Cleveland’s preparations for potential social unrest during the GOP convention but acknowledges the tough period the country is experiencing. “It is a frightening time,” says McBride. “It’s a turbulent time. Our nation is hurting.”
Tickets to the July 20 Creative Coalition gala range from $150,000 for 36 VIP tickets to a $7,500 two-ticket package for members. Actor Tim Daly serves as the president of the nonprofit and the charity’s board of directors includes actors Patricia Arquette, Hector Elizondo, Omar Epps, Rob Lowe and Alfre Woodard.