Activism

Singer invited to Trump’s inaugural will only appear if she can sing civil rights protest song

According to various reports, Donald Trump is having trouble finding A-list performers to appear at his inauguration celebration. But according to The Wrap, one invited performer has agreed to appear, but on one condition.

Former X-Factor UK contestant Rebecca Ferguson says she’ll perform on January 20 if she can sing Billie Holiday‘s famous protest song, “Strange Fruit.”

In a statement posted to Twitter, the British soul singer said that she’d “graciously” accept the invitation if she’s allowed to perform the song, which she describes as “a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world.”

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

The song’s lyrics were originally published as a poem by Abel Meeropol as a protest against racism in America and the lynching of African Americans in the 1930s.

“Southern trees bear strange fruit/ Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/ Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,” the song lyrics read.

The Wrap reports that with less than three weeks to go, Trump’s Inaugural Committee is still having trouble finding performers. “America’s Got Talent” singer Jackie Evancho, the Radio City Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are the only performers confirmed so far. According to The Daily Beast, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Garth Brooks, Andrea Bocelli, Kiss, Celine Dion, David Foster, and Kanye West are all invited performers who will be no-shows at the event.

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