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Singer Rebecca Ferguson said she will perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration celebration if he’ll allow her to sing a very specific and racially charged song.
After saying she had been asked by Trump’s team to perform, Ferguson, the 2010 runner-up on the British TV singing competition “The X Factor,” said she would accept the invitation on one condition: Ferguson would like to sing “Strange Fruit,” which was originally recorded by legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday.
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” Ferguson wrote on Twitter. “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.”
— Rebecca Ferguson (@RebeccaFMusic) January 2, 2017
Originally written as a poem by Abel Meeropol, “Strange Fruit” protested the immense racism against black people in the US in the early 1900s and was inspired by a photo of a lynching.
In 2015, Ferguson released an album of Billie Holiday covers, though “Strange Fruit” wasn’t one of them.
Representatives for Trump didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment about Ferguson’s proposal.
Unlike Ferguson, many artists reportedly turned down invitations to perform at Trump’s inauguration, including Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perrry, Bruno Mars, Celine Dion, and Garth Brooks.
Those who have accepted Trump’s invitation include “America’s Got Talent” singer Jackie Evancho, the Radio City Rockettes, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.