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Rebecca Ferguson Says She’ll Perform at Donald Trump’s Inauguration on One Condition

Variety logo Variety 1/2/2017 Alex Stedman
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British singer Rebecca Ferguson appears to be the latest performer to enter the saga of Donald Trump’s inauguration plans.

The former “X Factor UK” contestant said in a statement on Monday that she had been asked to perform at the Jan. 20 event, and would accept on one condition: that she’ll be able to sing famous protest song “Strange Fruit.”

“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” Ferguson wrote on TwitLonger. “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, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington.”

Originally a poem by Abel Meeropol, “Strange Fruit” paints a picture of the lynchings of African-Americans in the early 20th century.  Some of the lyrics include: “Southern trees bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.” “Strange Fruit” was first recorded by Billie Holiday, and later notably by Nina Simone.

The Trump camp has not yet responded to Ferguson’s statement. So far, the only performers on the line-up for the inauguration are former “America’s Got Talent” contestant Jackie Evancho, the Radio City Rockettes, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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