Black Mormon Choir Member Explains Why She’s Performing At Trump’s Inauguration

January 11, 2017  |  

I clicked on this video of Cristi Ford Brazao defending her decision to sing, with her the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, at Donald Trump’s inauguration with my face all screwed up. I thought, there is nothing she could say that could rationalize singing for Donald Trump. Especially when people in the same choir, who had been faced with the same moral dilemma, simply decided to quit the group that had accepted the invitation.

But Cristi Ford Brazao sees things differently. And though she explained that she doesn’t agree with many of Donald Trump’s stances and certainly didn’t vote for him, she still believes there’s some good that could come out of her singing at this event.

Brazao said when she learned that her church would be performing at the inauguration, she called her mother, who prayed for her. She told her children what she would be doing and spoke to her brother. Over two days, they all had conversations that contributed to Brazao’s final decision.

“I can’t speak on behalf of everyone in the choir but for me, my mission as a singer has always been to soften hearts, to bridge gaps, make connections and also to make friends. It’s not so much about converting people but the spirit of fellowshipping. My thoughts also fell on Marian Anderson…who sung at two inaugurations at a time in this country when she couldn’t even walk in the front door of a building where she was performing her own concert because of the color of her skin. And I’m grateful for Marian’s decision to sing at those inaugurations because I have her example to turn to today.”

“What I’m trying to do as a person is to be like Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ associated with prostitutes and liars and thieves. And while he did not endorse what they were doing, he still didn’t withhold his mission from them. And my mission is one of love, peace and hope and I want to share that with others, even in the face of ridicule…In this country, where people are so divided and people are hurting, I truly believe in the power of music. It can heal hearts and I want to contribute to that healing and also to bringing people together.”

What do you think about Brazao’s defense of herself and her choir?

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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