- Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the US in Washington, DC, on Wednesday afternoon.
- The inauguration was filled with musical performances from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks.
- As the performances were taking place, social media was quick to joke about the musical guests, including Brooks.
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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th president and vice president of the United States on Wednesday. The new administration called on entertainers like Lady Gaga to sing the national anthem, Jennifer Lopez to sing “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” and, finally, Garth Brooks to sing “Amazing Grace.”
Once Brooks took to the stage, and even before he began to sing, he was met with memes and reactions on social media.
People brought up Brooks’ history as a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community since the early ’90s.
It was announced on Monday that Garth would be performing at president Biden’s inauguration. Once the announcement was made, his conservative fan base called for a boycott against Brooks.
Boycott Garth Brooks!!
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) January 19, 2021
One person tweeted, “Just lost all respect for @garthbrooks this is his Dixie Chick’s moment,” nodding to the moment when one of the Dixie Chicks singers, Natalie Maines, criticised George W. Bush, leading to their blacklisting from the country music community.
Just lost all respect for @garthbrooks this is his Dixie Chick's moment
— jasonbray (@jasonbray17) January 19, 2021
Another person wrote in a tweet, “It is a statement of submission. ‘I accept your fraud and to hell with the people who made me rich because I already got mine,'” suggesting that Brooks does not care for what his conservative fans believe.
— Nick Searcy, INSURRECTIONAL FILM & TELEVISION STAR (@yesnicksearcy) January 19, 2021
Many Twitter userscame to his defence for performing at the inauguration, noting that the message in his music have often been about unification. In 1992, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Garth Brooks released a song called “We Shall Be Free,” whose lyrics proclaim that anyone is free to love who they choose. Brooks also spoke to a now-defunct print magazine called George and vocalized his support for gay rights. He told the magazine, which released its final issue in 2001, “But if you’re in love, you’ve got to follow your heart and trust that God will explain to us why we sometimes fall in love with people of the same sex.”
Although Brooks is a Republican, he’s always been staunch on his message of unity and ‘reaching across’ the aisle.
Brooks spoke to Esquire about accepting the invitation to perform and said, “I might be the only Republican at this place. But it’s reaching across, loving one another because that’s what’s going to get us through probably the most divided times that we have. I want the divided times to be behind us.”
After he performed, he went around and shook hands with and hugged the former presidents, from both parties, who were in attendance: former Vice President Mike Pence, current Vice President Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and former Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. He almost forgot to embrace former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush.
Ok but is Garth Brooks actually our greatest unifier?! pic.twitter.com/vh3vZKSxuA
— C. (@RulesForCaro) January 20, 2021
People didn’t hold back from making jokes about his entrance, as well as his attire.
The country singer donned a cowboy hat, boots, jeans, and a black button-up shirt, while almost everyone else in attendance was dressed in head-to-toe designer pieces, with subtle historical nods, from Vice President Harris’ choice of colour to Jennifer Lopez’s head-to-toe white.
Lopez and Gaga made headlines for their performances. Lady Gaga started out the performances donning a Schiaparelli gown paired with a large golden dove brooch. Jennifer Lopez took the stage afterwards and threw in a not-so-subtle nod to her song by belting out, “Let’s get loud!”
Twitter did not hold back when it came to making fun of Brooks and his interactions with the former presidents.
Countless legalistic church folk:
“You wouldn’t wear jeans to the White House to meet the President, so why would you wear jeans to God’s house?!?”
Garth Brooks: pic.twitter.com/iPaF06nOn8
— Josh Reavis (@joshreavis) January 20, 2021
Garth Brooks running through the aisles and hugging every former president pic.twitter.com/LPSwi18x8K
— T????LER (@burgerwizard_) January 20, 2021
Garth Brooks came in hard. pic.twitter.com/g2YUTICDUj
— Gordon Bombay (@stanleyipkiss88) January 20, 2021