British soul singer Rebecca Ferguson says she was asked to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, but said she would perform on only one condition: that she be allowed to sing a protest song about slavery.
“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,” Ferguson wrote on Twitter.
— Rebecca Ferguson (@RebeccaFMusic) January 2, 2017
“Strange Fruit,” a song made famous by Billie Holiday, is a protest anthem originally written by poet Abel Meeropol in 1937. The song’s lyrics illustrate segregated life and the lynching of black people in the early 20th century.
More recently, the Nina Simone version of the song was featured on Kanye West’s multi-platinum-selling album Yeezus.
“A song that speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden black people in the United States,” Ferguson wrote. “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.”
To date, there’s been no comment from the Presidential Inaugural Committee or Trump transition team on Ferguson.
The 31-year-old burst on to the music scene in 2010 when she was named runner-up on the British reality television music competition show The X Factor.
The world-famous Rockettes dance troupe, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and teenage opera singer Jackie Evancho are slated to perform at Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
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