Today the news media propagate the fear of terror and how horrible the terrorist are like a drumbeat to produce fear. I wonder why they can’t see the why the terror inflicted upon black over the years was not equally as terrifying. The bombed black communities, killed our leaders, rape and pillaged the black community and its people in ways that can only be described as terror, which some would argue from the day the first African was dragged onto the share of this place the slaves call “merica”.
Of course there was protest and rage, which brings to mind the greatest protest song in history. We know the importance of Billie Holiday’s recording of the song “Strange Fruit” that tells a story that had be told than as it must be told now to our youth and we must never forget. Because when you forget history it is destined to repeat itself. In fact, it is repeating itself, only today it happens in the streets with guns instead of a rope and often times at the hands of so-called justice!
When you look at the almost weekly killings of unarmed black people at the hands of the so-called law, I often wonder why there are not many artists protesting through their craft like the song “Strange Fruit”. That song created immediate outrage and so much controversy it brought to light a grim reminder of an unnecessarily painful and ugly chapter in American history.
The song retains its force because the issues it raises about the legacy of racial terrorism in American society still resonate. The story told in this song compelled its listeners to confront the ugly past, which was genuinely disturbing then, as it is no less disturbing today.
While many people assume Strange Fruit was written by Billie Holiday herself, it actually began as a poem by a Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from the Bronx, who later set it to music. Disturbed by a photograph of a lynching, the teacher wrote in stark verse and brooding melody about the horror of lynching under the pseudonym Lewis Allan in 1938. It was first performed at a New York teacher’s union rally and was brought to the attention of the manager of Cafe Society, a popular Greenwich Village nightclub, who introduced Billy Holiday to the writer.
LISTEN TO THE WORDS AND NEVER FORGET THE TERROR!!!
“Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant South, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh, And the sudden smell of burning flesh! Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for a tree to drop, here is a strange and bitter crop.”
The version of the song you hear was done by the late Nina Simone. And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…