Former The X Factor UK contestant Rebecca Ferguson is the latest to be tangled up in the Drumpf Inauguration Performer Drama. In case you didn’t know, for the first time in Donald Drumpf’s life, bribing people and forcing women to entertain his whims against their will hasn’t worked out for the future president so far.
It’s so fitting that the man who claimed he’s gonna bring good American jobs back bigly, or whatever, has to outsource his inauguration singer.
Ferguson has agreed to do it only if she can sing a protest song that was banned for making white people feel uncomfortable about being reminded that we spent decades lynching black people for our entertainment. Ferguson wrote on TwitLonger:
“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…then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington.”
What’s so controversial about this song? Well, take a look at the lyrics.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Holy shit. This song was written by New Yorker Abel Meeropol, an English teacher and activist who was so haunted after seeing a photograph of a lynching that he wrote a poem about it and set it to music. After playing “Strange Fruit” for an NYC club owner it was handed to Billie Holiday.
It was also performed by Nina Simone.
This is the most elegant, inspiring, and gloriously well-researched fuck you I have ever witnessed and I am in awe.