Rebecca Ferguson Wants to Sing 'Strange Fruit' at Trump Inauguration

Rebecca Ferguson
Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns via Getty Images

Rebecca Ferguson performs at Singleton Park on June 21, 2015 in Swansea, Wales. 

Rebecca Ferguson said she has been asked to perform at Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, and she has agreed under one condition: that she can sing the anti-racism anthem "Strange Fruit."

Regarding her possible appearance at the Jan. 20 ceremony, the British X-Factor alum shared a statement that reads: "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." 

"Strange Fruit" is one of the nation’s most famous protest songs against racism. Written by New York City teacher Abel Meeropol in 1937, the lyrics graphically describe the lynchings of African-Americans: "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."

The song was first recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939, and was later covered by Nina Simone during the Civil Rights movement in 1965.

Ferguson memorably performed Sam Cooke’s civil-rights anthem "A Change is Gonna Come" as a contestant on the 2010 edition of The X Factor UK

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.

Elton John, Gene Simmons, Garth Brooks and other artists reportedly have declined to appear.

President Donald Trump Inauguration