Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America. Following his defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the Republican is set to replace Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. What can we expect from the proceedings and how will the pop culture world respond?
Presidential inaugurations are a daylong ceremony. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to visit the District of Columbia, though spots at the official events are, of course, limited. Traditionally, the day begins with a morning worship service. After that, the new vice president takes the oath of office, followed by the president. After they’re sworn in, Trump will give his inaugural address speech. Once evening falls, the presidential family will attend several formal events around town, including the Inaugural Ball.
Along the way, there are opportunities for numerous musical performances. The national anthem is most notably built into the procession, though there are opportunities for others. At Barack Obama’s re-election inauguration in 2013, Beyoncé sang the anthem, while musicians like Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor added other performances. Even more notables performed at the balls that evening: Alicia Keys, Marc Anthony, Brad Paisley and others. But what will that docket look like this January for Trump?
Musicians (and A-list celebrities in general) avoided Trump on his election trail — some passively, some bluntly. The Republican National Convention featured dozens of pro-Trump speakers, overwhelmingly from government, military and conservative media backgrounds; the musicians were almost nowhere to be found. This largely held true right up through the Nov. 8 election. Are we headed toward a change? Will winning the election normalize Trump’s divisiveness and embolden musicians who’d been reluctant to go public with their support?
Ted Nugent has publicly supported Trump — and conservative issues in general — for a long time. He recently performed at Trump rallies along the campaign trail, so he’d be a good bet to be involved somehow.
Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd are possibilities. Both have long championed Republican causes and both were in Cleveland to play concerts during the 2016 convention. However, their performances were private affairs to honor military veterans and were not associated with the RNC.
A disparate few others — like Staind’s Aaron Lewis and Azealia Banks — voiced support at times this year, though both wavered in their level of devotion. Banks went as far as to applaud Trump’s victory.
Of course, for requisite performances like “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America,” the Trump White House could look outside popular music entirely and go for musicians with other backgrounds, like the military. The recording industry’s support for Trump’s campaign was even weaker than it was for Mitt Romney’s 2012 convention, so a near-total avoidance is possible. Or, as previously stated, popular musicians with conservative leanings could come out of the woodwork following Trump’s largely unexpected victory.
During the Donald Trump inauguration, protests are also likely. The official events — like the swearing-in ceremony and the Inaugural Ball — are all ticketed, with guests often having to go through local representatives’ or senators’ offices for admittance. Thus, demonstrations on the inside are unlikely, though sidewalk spots are open to the public. When Trump takes his ceremonial ride down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Presidential Cadillac limo, dissent could be in the air.
Popular music’s response to a Trump presidency is in its earliest stages, and on Jan. 20, it will enter its official phase. The 2016 campaign trail was unpredictable and brought out strong emotions; a Trump White House — once thought almost unthinkable — is likely to continue evoking fervent activism.