Trump Finally Gets A-Lister To Perform At Inauguration — But She Has One EPIC Condition…
Singer Plays Trump Card In Inauguration Response
Donald Trump has been struggling to get anyone noteworthy to play music at his inauguration. President Barack Obama’s first inauguration featured performances by “Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renée Fleming, Caleb Green, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, Bettye Lavette, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Jennifer Nettles, Pete Seeger, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, U2, Usher, will.i.am and Stevie Wonder.” The cream of American musical talent were all eager to play for President Obama. So far, Trump has the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and The Rockettes. Both groups have dealt with internal controversies as members have refused to perform for Trump.
Related: Insider: Inauguration In ‘Salvage’ Mode As A-Listers Refuse To ‘Normalize’ Trump Presidency
Since the next American president can’t find a major American artist to perform for him, Trump ringed across the pond and found an A-list celebrity in Britain who would be willing to play for him. Singer Rebecca Ferguson told her fans Monday that she had been asked to perform and she would “graciously accept” the invitation, but she had one condition.
“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. A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world…”
“Strange Fruit” is a song written as a poem by Abel Meeropol and first performed and recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. The song protests the lynchings of black people that were rampant at the most hellish period of Jim Crow. Thousands were tortured and hanged by mobs based on absurd accusations, and few were ever punished for it. In many cases, local law enforcement tacitly supported it.
The era of lynchings is one of the darkest periods of American history. It is a darkness that Trump implicitly wishes to return to, with his campaign’s reliance on racial voter suppression and his nomination of unrepentant old school racist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
Ferguson’s “gracious” offer to perform if she’s allowed to play this song in protest of the kind of history that Trump and his Cabinet represent is a sophisticated protest. It puts Trump in a bind, since he has to either accept the condition or turn down the only marquee singer who has offered to perform. Ferguson’s condition is an act of solidarity with the majority of American people who didn’t vote for Trump or his promise of a massive regression to a darker era of America’s past.
Watch Billie Holiday Perform “Strange Fruit”:
[brid video=”102799″ player=”5260″ title=”Billie Holiday Strange Fruit”]
Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images
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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.