Rebecca Ferguson X Factor Trump Strange Fruit

This singer will play Trump’s Inauguration, but only if she can perform “Strange Fruit”

Former X Factor contestant Rebecca Ferguson wants to perform the song popularized by Billie Holiday about black lynchings.

- Jan 3, 2017

We've heard Donald Trump is having a difficult time booking talent for Inauguration Day (meanwhile, there's a giant protest concert in the works that supposedly has talent "banging on the door"). The only performer the President-elect has confirmed thus far is America's Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho.

And apparently, his team's been reaching deeper into the pool of singing show contestants to land another ersatz pop powerhouse who's more interested in exposure than politics. Soon, Trump will be scouring karaoke bars for somebody, anybody who can nail the key change in "Livin' On A Prayer."

Shared in a tweet yesterday, English singer Rebecca Ferguson, the runner-up in 2010's The X Factor, said she was asked to play and said sure, but only if she could play "Strange Fruit," which sounds like a terrific conceit.

The song popularized by Billie Holiday in 1939 (also sung notably by Nina Simone, whose version was also sampled by Kanye West) is a protest anthem against American racism and the lynching of African Americans there throughout the 19th century and well into Holiday's era.

Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

Ferguson describes it as "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."

If he's willing to give that centre stage, then, she says, "I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington."

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