Kendrick Lamar Finds Out He’s Playing for Donald Trump Next Week

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Kendrick Lamar performing on July 22nd, 2017

Kendrick Lamar just announced that he’ll be producing and curating the Black Panther album soundtrack.  He’s also performing for Donald Trump on Monday in Atlanta.

Kendrick Lamar is an outspoken critic of Donald Trump.  And that’s an understatement.  So why is he performing for the President on Monday?

Blame a scheduling oversight or last-minute change in itinerary.  But on Monday, January 8th, Donald Trump will be attending the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  Lamar is slated to perform the halftime festivities at the adjacent Centennial Olympic Park.

(Quick update: our earlier report suggested that Lamar would be playing  on the Mercedes-Benz field itself.  Instead, Lamar will be situated just outside the stadium, though the performance will be integrated into the Championship.)

Trump is scheduled to attend the game with agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue, vice presidential aide Nick Ayers, and first lady Melania Trump.  On the field, Alabama and Georgia will be pitted against one another, though Trump is guaranteed to commandeer the spotlight.

Trump’s appearance was confirmed by the Atlanta Police Dept. this week.  The game officially starts at 8 pm EST (here’s the complete game-day guide).

According to a press release sent to Digital Music News, Kendrick’s performance will be integrated into the halftime telecast.  Viewers at home will be treated to a great game interspersed with the halftime performance.  That arrangement probably means that attendees to the game inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will see the perform played on multiple game screens.

All of which means that Kendrick Lamar will technically be playing for the president, first lady, and top White House aides.

In comments this week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the football rivals “two great teams from two great states, both in the heart of Trump country”.  She declined to discuss potential conflicts involving the national anthem or a performance by Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar greets then-President Barack Obama, January 11, 2016
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Kendrick Lamar greets then-President Barack Obama, January 11, 2016
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Kendrick Lamar greets then-President Barack Obama, January 11, 2016

As for Lamar, it’s difficult to imagine that the rapper agreed to the performance involving Trump.

All of which raises the possibility that Lamar will pull out at the last moment in protest.

So far, the rapper has yet to comment on the issue.  But the ramifications for musicians and entertainers associating with Trump can be severe.  At the tail end of 2016, Chrisette Michele agreed to play a Trump Inauguration event, with severe ramifications for her career.

9 Months After Playing Trump’s Inauguration, Chrisette Michele’s Career Is on Life Support

Similarly, Steve Harvey met with Donald Trump at the foot of Trump Tower after the 2016 election.  The entertainer suffered catastrophic ratings drops following the decision, with potentially permanent career damage resulting.

Granted, those were meetings confirmed and arranged by both performers.  But it’s unclear if Lamar’s audience will discern the difference, especially after the performance is broadcast on national television without the proper backstory.  In fact, it may all appear to be a well-choreographed event — with Kendrick Lamar guilty by association.

More as this develops.



6 Responses

  1. Me

    Kendrick is performing in Centennial Park, not inside the stadium. So, He won’t be performing in front of Trump.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      This is part of the game’s halftime festivities. Technically you are correct: it will not be directly in front of Trump, as it is in Centennial Park, but definitely part of the telecast and likely piped into the stadium screens.

      Here’s a quote from Lamar himself on the performance:

      “Having the opportunity to perform at halftime of what will surely be the best game of the year between two deserving universities is truly an honor. Thank you, ESPN, for having me be the first halftime performer ever at the College Football Playoff National Championship.”

      So let’s see if he still wants to be playing at the same event.

      Here’s the press release for the event which offers more detail:

  2. Bob

    Another bullshit clickbait headline from DMN. You have no shame.

  3. Rudolf

    Kendrick rules! Donald rules! Only the left-wing DMN doesn’t rule! 😛

  4. daphuc

    typically, i see the points you try to make, paul… but this is false equivalency at it’s best. other performers faced backlash because they chose to engage in moments that centered directly around DT. kendrick agreed to perform during a football game… so it’s not like he’s performing for DT anymore than any other attendee.

    this is just problematic writing.