Last week, former X Factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson agreed to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration if they would let her sing “Strange Fruit,” the controversial Billie Holiday protest song about lynching.
Now, however, Ferguson has reportedly dropped out of the inauguration after a disagreement with Trump’s team over the song.
Daily Mail reported that “Strange Fruit” was banned in the 1930s due to it’s lyrics, which were controversial at the time. These lyrics included, “Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.”
Trump’s inauguration team decided that the song would not set the right tone for the January 20th event, so they chose to part ways with Ferguson when she would not sing a different song.
“Due to circumstances beyond my control concerning the offer to perform at the Inauguration Concert, I was thrown into the middle of a political arena last week,” Ferguson, 30, said in a statement. “I wasn’t comfortable with the song choice made on my behalf, and although I’m very blessed to have a gift that gives me amazing opportunities, as a mother and an artist, I had to defend my stance. That is why I made the decision to sing Strange Fruit when I was invited.”
“I requested to sing Strange Fruit as I felt it was the only song that would not compromise my artistic integrity and also as somebody who has a lot of love for all people, but has a special empathy as well for African American people and the #blacklivesmatter movement, I wanted to create a moment of pause for people to reflect,” she continued. “I believe talent is a gift that should be used to heal the wounds of this world and make the world a better place to live in.”
Ferguson went on to say:
“As music is so powerful, I wanted to try and help educate the people watching of where division and separation can lead to if not corrected. My aim was not to cause contention.
Pride and ego is what we need to conquer in this world. I was blessed to be invited to the Vatican last month and one thing I was left reflecting on, was all the things that separate humans from one another. It is often pride and the inability to accept people for exactly who they are. We are here to love, not judge, or bring people down.
I think love and standing firm in love against anything that separates us from each other, can heal us in these troubled times of unrest.
There are many grey areas about the offer for me to perform that I’m unable to share right now, but I will not be singing. However, I genuinely wish your nation nothing but love.
I would also like to pay homage to a few of your great female artists: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and the brave and remarkable Eartha Kitt and her beautiful untold story.
I’ve a lot of love for the United States. It’s a constant source of inspiration to myself, if not the whole world. I genuinely wish you all well and hope I will still get to sing Strange Fruit for you one day. Take care and God bless xx.”
This undoubtedly came as bad news to Trump’s inauguration committee, as they have had trouble convincing singers to perform at the event. This is because the entertainment industry is run by liberals, so singers believe that performing at the inauguration could pose a serious risk to their careers.
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