Luca V. Teuchmann/Getty ImagesFormer X Factor UK finalist Rebecca Ferguson, who stated last week that she was willing to accept an invitation to sing at Donald Trump‘s inauguration — under the condition that she be allowed to perform Billie Holiday‘s 1939 classic “Strange Fruit” — has officially turned down the opportunity.
In a statement Ferguson explains that “there are many grey areas about the offer for me to perform that I’m unable to share right now, but I will not be singing.”
“Due to circumstances beyond my control concerning the offer to perform at the Inauguration Concert, I was thrown into the middle of a political arena last week. I wasn’t comfortable with the song choice made on my behalf, and although I’m very blessed to have a gift that gives me amazing opportunities, as a mother and an artist, I had to defend my stance. That is why I made the decision to sing ‘Strange Fruit’ when I was invited,” she adds.
“Strange Fruit,” which was first published as a poem by New York writer Abel Meeropol in 1937, and later recorded by Billie Holiday, addresses the lynchings of African Americans in the early 20th century.
“Strange Fruit” includes the lyrics “Southern trees bear strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.”
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