British The X-Factor alum Rebecca Ferguson is the latest artist to be approached to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration.
And while many have declined with little more than a “No,” Ferguson has released a statement saying that she would, in fact, appear on Jan. 20 under one condition: That she could sing the 1937 protest song “Strange Fruit.”
“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,” Ferguson wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “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.”
Most famously performed by Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” was written in 1937 by Abel Meeropol, a New York City teacher, protesting racism in the United States. Specifically, it decried the horrors of lynching African Americans. It has since been recorded and performed by dozens more artists, from Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller to Nina Simone.
See Ferguson’s tweet below.