Dear Trump Team: Please say yes to Rebecca Ferguson’s terms. Sincerely, America.
The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America is a mere sixteen days away. Which means organizing the pomp and circumstance that is any presidential inauguration is picking up steam. This includes a major push to book artists and celebrities to generously lend their talents to the day’s events.
However, Donald Trump appears to be having more than your average amount of difficulty securing the participation of any musician in the activities of his big day.
Unlike Barack Obama, who was serenaded by the likes of Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Steve Wonder, Trump’s recruitment effort has been what one source bluntly labeled a nightmare.
Typically, artists clamor for the opportunity to deploy their talents for inarguably the biggest gig in American politics. But we’re talking about Donald Trump here, a man who has spent the last year and a half running one of the most hateful political campaigns in contemporary American history.
Reportedly, artists such as Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Katie Perry, Andrea Bocelli and KISS were being considered for a performance. However, given the fact that most of these musicians supported Hillary Clinton, it’s highly unlikely that they would accept an invitation to help cement the legacy of her arch rival. Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find any artist of clear mind who’s willing to overlook both Donald Trump’s inflammatory near past and the political policies he’s vowed to put his signature behind.
There is one exception: Rebecca Ferguson.
Recently, the 30-year-old former contestant on the X-Factor announced that she would be willing to sing at Trump’s inauguration. However, there is one stipulation, and it’s a huge one: she would be allowed to choose the song. Her song of choice is “Strange Fruit.”
In a statement on her decision to sing, Ferguson elaborated on her reasons for picking “Strange Fruit,” saying that the song — which was written by Jewish American Abel Meeropol and famously sung by legendary singers Billie Holiday and Nina Simone — has “huge historical importance.”
She added that “Strange Fruit” “speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden black people in the United States,” and is “a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world.”
Fitting doesn’t come close to approximating the weight this song would give to the anxieties and deep fear many Americans are wrestling with in this historical moment. The lyrics of “Strange Fruit” were a protest against the lynching of black Americans. Today, black Americans face an updated and modified version of lynchings in the form of state-sanctioned violence and state-sponsored poverty. With a Trump presidency looming, along with an era of “law and order,” many black Americans and other marginalized groups, such as women and LGBT community, are afraid that these conditions will grow worse and any progress that they’ve made in the last 30 years will be rolled back.
There’s no word yet on whether or not Donald Trump has agreed to Ferguson’s terms. But, we’re here to let you know that we are absolutely all for this. And, that if there is any song that should be serenaded to a man like Donald Trump, “Strange Fruit” is definitely the one.
Watch Billie Holiday sing “Strange Fruit” in the clip below: