Donald Trump ran a vicious, vulgar, racist campaign, and is now proceeding to stack his cabinet with racists and other various assorted bigots. As a result the largely liberal minded A-List singers who are usually clamoring and chomping at the bit to perform at presidential inaugurations want absolutely nothing to do with performing for Trump’s coronation party. To that end, Trump’s transition team and Presidential Inaugural Committee have resorted to trying to pay celebrities to appear in an effort to avoid having the whole shebang be a humiliating disaster for the billionaire businessman turned president-elect.
Well, Trump might have an opportunity to have a prominent British artist perform – but only if he allows her performance to pretty much rail against everything he, his transition officials, and his travesty of a presidential campaign stand for. Rebecca Ferguson said that she would, quote, “graciously accept” a Trump inaugural invitation if and only if he agreed to her singing a song protesting racism – particularly America’s nasty history of lynching black people. Ferguson says of the potential performance:
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer. 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.”
The song is a product of legendary Black singer Billie Holiday, who was one of the first people to break down racial barriers and expose racism in the musical arts. Some of the key lyrics regarding lynching include the following:
“Southern trees bear a strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black body swinging in the Southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.”
Here is a video Billie Holiday singing the legendary song:
The Trump transition team has yet to say whether they will concede to what Ferguson wants, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction if they did. After all, Trump is the first president-elect in this nation’s history who has been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and has had neo-Nazis salute him with Hitler-style gestures. He’d do well to realize that the campaign he ran DEMANDS his compliance here if the country is to come together after this contentious election. I won’t hold my breath there, though. Good on you, Rebecca Ferguson, for putting forth an effort that will expose Trump for what he is when he inevitably refuses.
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images