Billie Holiday recorded “Strange Fruit” after hearing a performance of it at Madison Square Gardens during times of rampant lynchings of Black people in America. She would close each night of her nightclub act with this song written by Abel Meerpol.
Here is a remake of the song by Colie Williams and Quineice, two singer/actresses who portrayed Billie Holiday in the Liberated Muse production IN HER WORDS which ran for three seasons 2012-2014. Khadijah Ali-Coleman, the director of the production In Her Words, directed the video which features actor Ben Dawson. Dawson is the sound engineer on the recording.
Williams came up with the idea to record a remake of the song after being troubled with the rising numbers of killings of Black young people by police and other citizens. She asked Quineice to work with her on the song. The video opens with her explaining her reasoning for wanting to do the song before fading into a shot of her in the studio with Quineice, Dawson and guitarist DL Watson, laying down vocals for the song.
The haunting vocals provide backdrop for a searing visual of nationwide protest of rampant police brutality and citizen killings of Black people in America. Highlighted are the lives of some of the Black men, women and children killed by police in 2014 and those killed by armed white citizens in previous years. Video footage includes the moments before the killing of Eric Garner as well as footage from protests at UC Berkley and Ferguson, MO.
Credits for the performance are at the end of the video.
The original footage from the UC Berkley protest seen in the video can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVmyM…
Photos in the video were found on Google during a search for photos available for non-commercial use.
Other video footage not originally shot by the director or part of the Berkley protest is labeled as such in the video. (i.e. the footage of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and John Crawford before their murders).
Prayers and healing energy to the families impacted by the brutality around us.
Listen to the full recording at: https://soundcloud.com/colie-williams