By Annie Reuter
Rebecca Ferguson is one of many artists who have been asked to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20. While acts like Elton John, Gene Simmons and Garth Brooks have reportedly declined their invitations, Ferguson says she’ll attend under one condition: she wants to sing the anti-racism anthem “Strange Fruit.”
The former British X-Factor contestant shared her answer to the inauguration invitation on Twitter on Monday (Jan. 2).
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” she wrote. “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” was written by New York City teacher Abel Meeropol as a poem and published in 1937. The song addressed American racism and lynchings with lyrics like, “Southern trees bear strange fruit/ Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/ Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze/ Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.”
“Strange Fruit” was first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. Nina Simone covered the song during the Civil Rights movement in 1965.
No word on whether Ferguson’s condition will be granted.
Inauguration ceremony Read: tl.gd/n_1spgc5t—
Rebecca Ferguson (@RebeccaFMusic) January 02, 2017