Country music icon Garth Brooks will perform at President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ inauguration on Jan. 20. The Presidential Inaugural Committee revealed the Brooks performance in a press conference Monday (Jan. 18).
“This is a great day in our household, this is not a political statement, this is a statement of unity,” Brooks said. “This is history, and it is an honor to get to serve.”
Brooks says he was asked to perform by Dr. Jill Biden last week and made the decision to do so Sunday night. Brooks will be part of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, not the concert or parade programming slated for later in the day Wednesday. Brooks will join Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, who are also slated to perform at the inauguration ceremonies.
“There is a common theme in every presidential election: New beginnings, new starts, but it is the word unity, the word love, the word that we belong to each other. It is going to take all of us, what I want for all of us to do is listen,” Brooks said. “We are more divided than ever, that bridge that brings us together, it is reaching across, loving one another, because that is what is going to get us through the most divided times that we have.”
Brooks says he has performed for every president since Jimmy Carter, with the exception of Ronald Reagan. He had also performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008, and was asked to do so at President Trump’s inauguration in 2016, but was unable to appear due to a concert he had committed to in Cincinnati.
“In this case you must rise beyond red and blue, black and white, gay and straight, male and female, look at it from America,” Brooks said, adding that he wants attendees of his concerts leaving the show “loving each other more than the way they came in.”
He also recalled one of his favorite quotes, which, fittingly, came from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “We can’t start living until we rise above the narrows of our own individualistic concerns, and focus on the broader concerns of all humanity.”
This story first appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.