President-elect Donald Trump has made threats to the Black Lives Matter movement, when not ignoring it completely, leaving many Americans feel unsure, unsafe, and rightfully angry. Singer Rebecca Ferguson is now taking extremely powerful action to say something about it. The 30-year-old and alum of UK's 2010 X Factor took to Twitter on Monday to announce Ferguson has been asked to perform at Trump's inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20. But there's a catch. The performer will only take the stage with the song of her choosing: "Strange Fruit." With extremely powerful lyrics, the song was once blacklisted in the states for being controversial, which is exactly why Ferguson wants to remind America of its message. Revisiting the lyrics in 2016 is as chilling as it is heartbreaking.
With a post simply titled "Inauguration ceremony," the singer explains why she chooses the 1937 song, most recognized by Billie Holiday's rendition:
Written by Jewish socialist Abel Meeropol (with pseudonym Lewis Allan), The Independent refers to the poem as a "protest song about lynchings of African-Americans in the 20th century," capturing his utter disbelief and remorse over what he witnessed. In addition to Holiday, it's been performed by Nina Simone (which was sampled in Kanye West's "Blood on the Leaves"), Sting, and John Martyn. The reality of the lyrics is horrifying, and to think it applies to 2016 America is hard to even believe.
In the first verse, helpless, lynched bodies are referred to as "strange fruit hanging from the trees":
The cruelties are intensified in the second verse, which describes the views and scents of senseless murders:
Lastly, the song captures the disregard and carelessness over human lives that were taken for no reason at all:
It is 2017, and still Americans are witnessing innocent black lives being taken for no reason. Unarmed citizens are killed point-blank and murders are intentionally being captured on cell phones. The reality of society is truly sickening, but it's a reality that Ferguson is brave enough to show the world, with hope that love will ultimately conquer senseless hate. Now, it's Trump's move to show he's listening.