British singer Rebecca Ferguson has been asked to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony. But Unlike others (Elton John, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars…), she hasn’t refused the invitation outright. In fact, Rebecca agreed to appear on Jan. 20 under one condition.
The singer explained that she would only accept an invitation if she got to perform the famous protest song “Strange Fruit”.
— Rebecca Ferguson (@RebeccaFMusic) January 2, 2017
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer. 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. Best Rebecca X”
Originally recorded by Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” was written as a poem in 1937 by Abel Meeropol, a New York City teacher, protesting racism in the United States. The words of Strange Fruit describe the lynching of African Americans in the early 20th century: “Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze”.
The inauguration organizers have reportedly been having trouble locking down musical performers for the big day. Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Garth Brooks, and Céline Dion are all rumored to have turned down the offer.