British singer Rebecca Ferguson has offered to perform at controversial U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration if he allows her to sing protest song “Strange Fruit.”
The pop star, who found fame on The X Factor U.K. in 2010, has reportedly been asked to sing at the ceremony on 20 January and she insists she is willing to hit the stage in Washington, D.C. if she can perform Billie Holiday’s 1939 song, about racism in the 1930s.
“I’ve been asked and this is my answer,” she writes 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 downtrodden 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’s inauguration officials have failed to secure any really big names for the swearing-in ceremony so far. Jackie Evancho from America’s Got Talent is slated to sing the National Anthem, while The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Marine Corps band, and The Rockettes are also set to perform.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Jan Chamberlin has resigned in protest, writing on Facebook that she couldn’t participate in the inauguration performance and “look myself in the mirror again with self-respect”.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli reportedly volunteered to perform at the event, but a spokesperson for the Republican politician revealed it was the President-elect himself who turned down the tenor’s offer.
The chairman of Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., told CNBC, “The Bocelli came to him and said, ‘Look, if it would be helpful to you, if you would like us to perform, we would consider it.’
“And Donald said: ‘You don’t need to. We’re not in that kind of a framework. Thanks very much for the offer. You’re my friend. You are always welcome at the White House.'”
Former Motley Crue singer Vince Neil also revealed he had been “uninvited” to perform at the inauguration after claiming Trump had asked him to sing.