The X Factor runner-up Rebecca Ferguson has revealed that she has accepted an offer to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony – on one condition.
President-elect Trump has reported been struggling to find high profile singers to perform at his inauguration ceremony on 20th January, but now help is at hand from a surprising source: British singer Rebecca Ferguson.
Ferguson revealed the gig ‘offer’ on Twitter, explaining that she would be happy to perform, as long as she could sing Strange Fruit, a powerful anti-discrimination anthem describing African Americans being lynched in the early 20th century.
The song was first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939, and memorably covered by Nina Simone in 1965. Ferguson said that the anthem is “a song that speaks to all the disregarded and downtrodden black people in the United States.”
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” she explained on Twitter. “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 downtrodden 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, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington.”
Lyrics to Strange Fruit include:
Southern trees bear strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Barack Obama’s inauguration featured a special performance from Aretha Franklin, but Trump’s team have been forced to cast a wide net to find celebrities willing to take the stage alongside the new Republican president.
Elton John, Gene Simmons and Garth Brooks have reportedly turned down invitations, and performers like Katy Perry and Beyoncé were off the table after throwing their support behind Hillary Clinton.