Today's #StrangeFruitMOTD comes from Genevieve Gaignard's solo exhibition, "Strange Fruit," for Los Angeles Vielmetter, "a collection of pieces which agitate against the historical and modern-day lynching of Black Americans." This mixed-medium collection includes "provocative pieces" which "[aim] to disrupt: to amplify alternative narratives of racial violence and white supremacy."
Today's #StrangeFruitMOTD is a haunting reimagining of Abel Meeropol's anti-lynching song, "Strange Fruit." Tony award winner Tonya Pinkins delivers a powerful performance of "Strange Fruit, Revisited," a George Floyd protest song which tells a modern story of anti-Black violence.
Today's #StrangeFruitMOTD comes from Tank and The Bangas' song, “Stolen Fruit,” which they released ahead of their latest album, "Red Balloon." The song is a commentary on slavery in the U.S. and draws inspiration from Abel Meeropol's anti-lynching protest song, "Strange Fruit."
On "Stolen Fruit," lead singer Tarriona “Tank” Ball explains:"[it's] basically about the slave trade. There’s ‘Strange Fruit,’ and I call this one ‘Stolen Fruit,’ because not only were the fruit strange, but they were also stolen. They weren’t from here."
#StrangeFruitMOTD: Violinist Jennifer Koh and singer Davóne Tines recently premiered their collaboration, a multimedia show “Everything Rises,” which is "an hourlong work that [the pair] have been collaborating on since they met. It has been a project of evolution and introspection, changing even to respond to racialized violence against Black and Asian American people during the pandemic."
Today's #StrangeFruitMOTD comes from Austin, TX where a Houston native high school student, Douglas Mills, Jr. auditioned for this season of American Idol with a powerful rendition of "Strange Fruit."
The song, written by Abel Meeropol and made famous by Billie Holiday, protests lynchings of Black Americans and is a staple of the civil rights movement.
The emotional and captivating performance left the judges in awe. After giving Mills a standing ovation, country music singer Luke Bryan said, "I'm speechless about it."
Strange Fruit Mention of the Day: Congratulations to the hugely talented Andra Day for her Grammy win last night for "United States vs. Billie Holiday" in the "best compilation soundtrack for visual media" category!
We could not be more thrilled for her and the production team. If you still have not seen the 2021 film, it's well worth the watch. Particularly Day's haunting performance of "Strange Fruit" as Billie Holiday.
Today’s #StrangeFruitMOTD is a haunting, a cappella rendition of Nina Simone's cover of the protest song originally made famous by Billie Holiday – "Strange Fruit." The stripped-down track allows the powerful lyrics to stand alone and “you can hear the talent and the emotion in her voice, making it a stunning listen.”
This #StrangeFruitMOTD highlights “Dammit Wesley,” a visual artist from Charlotte, NC. “One of his most iconic murals ... named ‘Strange Fruit’ is a nod to the words from the songs [popularized] by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.
When his artwork leads to one or many powerful conversations, Wesley said it feels somewhat like mission accomplished.
'I hope whatever I do today continues to create a highway for many other artists like me to tell their stories,' Wesley said."
This video from SALT was produced in 2014 to honor the 75th anniversary of Billie Holiday's first recording of "Strange Fruit."
The narrators take a faith-based/religious lens, which we think is pretty interesting, drawing parallels between the story of the Marion, IN lynching that inspired the writing of the protest song, "Strange Fruit," and passages from the Bible.
The video also speaks to the power of art and performance. Of Abel Meeropol and his writing of "Strange Fruit," Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas (one of the two narrators) says,
One day after her birthday, another Nina Simone-focused Strange Fruit Mention of the Day highlights her “five greatest isolated vocals”: “Billie Holiday is the artist...most intrinsically linked with ‘Strange Fruit’... During the ’60s, Simone paid tribute to Holiday by covering the classic. Sadly, the lyrics were still relevant as Black people fought for their rights to be recognized as equal citizens. She was a key player in the Civil Rights Movement, and the raw emotion in her voice throughout this isolated version of ‘Strange Fruit’ will touch your core.”