It’s no secret that Donald Trump has been having some trouble finding people to perform at his inauguration this month, but it appears at least one person might finally be willing to take the gig — if the president-elect agrees to one condition.
— Rebecca Ferguson (@RebeccaFMusic) January 2, 2017
On Monday, singer Rebecca Ferguson took to Twitter to state that she had been invited to perform at Trump’s inauguration, and would be more than happy to do it if the president-elect allowed her to sing “Strange Fruit.”
The song, based on the 1937 poem by Abel Meeropol and first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939, is a powerful and gut-wrenching protest of anti-black racism, and describes the horrific lynchings of African-Americans in the early 20th Century. Since then, it has been covered by multiple artists — most recently, Kanye West sampled Nina Simone’s 1965 version of the song for “Blood On the Leaves” — and was named the “Song of the Century” by Time in 1999.
“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,” Rebecca wrote in her statement on Monday. “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.”
The president-elect has not yet responded to her statement, which many pointed out was more or less her way of turning the offer down.
Meanwhile, others expressed their belief that even if Trump allowed her to sing “Strange Fruit,” she should still refuse to perform at the inauguration on principle.
@RebeccaFMusic if you care about what the uk thinks of you at all you will turn down the inauguration all together.
— DAVID H (@daveyh87) January 2, 2017