She kicked off with “Strange Fruit,” accompanied by a trumpet player. After the first verse, she continued with the theme and launched seamlessly into the intro for “Tigress & Tweed.” “Strange fruit come down off the tree/ Cut it down under your feet/ Juicy fruit, so bittersweet,” she sang, as shirtless men with blood-red hands danced behind her.
Day played the famed Holiday in the film, which was released in February. The role earned the singer-actress an Oscar nod for best actress, and a Golden Globe trophy for best actress in a motion picture drama. “Tigress & Tweed” also earned a Globe nomination for best original song.
Earlier in the evening, Day won the BET Award for best actress for portraying Holiday. She triumphed over Angela Bassett, Issa Rae, Jurnee Smollett, Viola Davis and Zendaya.
Taraji P. Henson hosted the ceremony, which was broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The theme of this year’s event was Black women and their impact on culture.