Billie holiday s strange fruit

He was known to treat white drug addicts with patience and compassion, but when he found out that Billie Holiday also suffered from addition, he saw a way in.

Anslinger clung tight to white supremacy, using fear of drugs and therefore the Black population, to which he attributed all drug abuse to instill panic in white Americans.

It has inspired musicians since to sing about injustice with candour and the awareness that a song can be a timeless impetus for social change. It allowed her to take what was originally an expression of political protest and transform it into a work of art for millions to hear.

strange fruit poem

How do people in power silence artists who have the courage to speak against injustice? After he published "Strange Fruit" in a teachers union publication, Meeropol composed it into a song and passed it onto a nightclub owner, who then introduced it to Holiday.

Billie holiday death

Because of the painful memories it conjured, Holiday didn't enjoy performing "Strange Fruit," but knew she had to. Holiday sang "Strange Fruit" for him a cappella, and moved him to tears. They turned her friends away, claiming there was no way to visit her, and the hospital removed her from the critical condition list without explanation because Harry Anslinger insisted that they stop administering methadone, the drug that was saving her life. Share this:. Men saw in Holiday an opportunity to advance themselves. Still determined to soldier on, she performed to sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, but still, the demons of her difficult childhood, which involved working at a brothel alongside her prostitute mother, haunted her and she began using heroin again. Her later performances of Strange Fruit could be agonising to watch. When an image of the grotesque lynching of two black men in Indiana surfaced , Abel Meeropol, Bronx school teacher, wrote a response poem called Bitter Fruit.

Customers either clapped till their hands were sore, or walked out in disgust. He drew up some rules: first, Holiday would close all three of her nightly sets with it; second, the waiters would halt all service beforehand; third, the whole room would be in darkness but for a sharp, bright spotlight on Holiday's face; fourth, there would be no encore.

Billie holiday strange fruit lyrics

Thanks for watching! Up to this point, protest songs functioned as propaganda, but Strange Fruit proved they could be art. In doing so, she perfects the song, narrowing the sarcasm of "gallant South" to a fine point and cooling the temperature of the most overheated image: "the stench of burning flesh". The rest had been taken from her by men, and everyone else that took advantage of her fierce talent, her vulnerability, and her generosity. Upon her release she began singing in Harlem jazz clubs, where she caught the eye of producer John Hammond, who made her one of the swing era's hottest stars. Meeropol worked out a tune and Strange Fruit quickly became a fixture at leftwing gatherings during , sung by his wife and various friends. She died within days. In her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, Holiday suggested that she, together with Meeropol, her accompanist Sonny White, and arranger Danny Mendelsohn, set the poem to music. The chatter from the tables dries up.

InHoliday checked herself into a New York City hospital. Anti-lynching campaigners sent Strange Fruit to congressmen to encourage them to propose a viable anti-lynching bill.

abel meeropol

After the last word — a long, abruptly severed cry of "crop" — the whole room snaps to black. All that she knew and felt about being black in America, she poured into the song.

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Political Songs