Rebecca Ferguson took to Twitter on Monday to reveal she had been asked to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
The 30-year-old British singer posted a response on Twitter, saying she would agree perform, but only if she could sing “Strange Fruit,” a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday.
Ferguson said the song “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.”
The “Nothing’s Real but Love” singer continued, writing that “Strange Fruit” was “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. Best Rebecca X.”
The protest song was originally written as a poem by Abel Meeropol in 1937, and paints a picture of the lynchings of African Americans in the early 20th century. Some of the lyrics give a poignant depiction of the lives slaves led: “Southern trees bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze.”
The song was later notably sung by Nina Simone, the subject of the 2015 Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?
The Trump camp has not yet responded to Ferguson’s statement.
So far, other 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.
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