Rebecca Ferguson has confirmed that she has been invited to perform at Donald Trump‘s inauguration on January 20, but has said that she will only perform at the ceremony if she can sing Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’.
Trump will be sworn in as US President later this month during the traditional ceremony outside the US Capitol in Washington D.C.. There has been much speculation about which artist, or indeed artists, might perform at the inauguration, with KISS’ Gene Simmons denying earlier this week that he had been invited to play. Current President Barack Obama invited Beyoncé and Aretha Franklin to perform during his 2009 inauguration.
Taking to Twitter to confirm her invite, Ferguson said she would “graciously accept” Trump’s invite on the condition that she be permitted to perform Holiday’s iconic 1939 protest song ‘Strange Fruit’, which was written about the surge of African-American lynchings in the early twentieth century by the teacher and poet Abel Meeropol in 1937. Listen to ‘Strange Fruit’ below.
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” Ferguson wrote. “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.”
Trump has only been able to secure one artist so far to perform at his inauguration, with America’s Got Talent 2010 runner-up Jackie Evancho set to perform the US national anthem.