Saturday, August 13, 2022

Black British Singer Will Accept Trump Inauguration Invite ONLY If She Can Perform ‘Strange Fruit’

Rebecca Ferguson performs ahead of the Regent Street Christmas lights switch on, on November 17, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.
Rebecca Ferguson performs ahead of the Regent Street Christmas lights switch on, on November 17, 2016 in London, United Kingdom.

*Former “X Factor UK” contestant Rebecca Ferguson is the latest performer to take issue with being invited to sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration, but the black British singer has come up with a way to possibly protest his presidency to his face.

Ferguson said in a statement on Monday that she had been asked to perform at the Jan. 20 event, and would accept on one condition: that she’ll be able to sing “Strange Fruit.”

“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” Ferguson wrote on TwitLonger. “If you allow me to sing ‘strange fruit’ a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United States for being too controversial. A song that speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden black people in the United States. A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington.”

“Strange Fruit,” an Abel Meeropol poem first recorded by Billie Holiday, and later notably by Nina Simone, paints a picture of the lynchings of African-Americans in the early 20th century. The lyrics include: “Southern trees bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.”

The Trump camp has yet to respond. So far, the only performers who have accepted his invitation are “America’s Got Talent” contestant Jackie Evancho, the Radio City Rockettes (minus several who have refused), and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (after one member quit in protest).

Below, Nina Simone’s performance of “Strange Fruit”:

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