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Cassandra Wilson

In: English and Literature

Submitted By NF10
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My first gut response to the song “Strange Fruit” was disturbing I couldn’t tell if a man or a woman was singing the song. The singer had a very low toned voice and the instrumentals in the song gave me a hard time trying to understand what they singer was saying. Not knowing whom the singer was made it hard for me to try and paint a picture of the story they were trying to tell. Taking my focus away from the lyrics. When I first heard the song in my kitchen I was confused I didn’t understand what was the singer was trying to sing, all I remember was the sound in their voice. The singer had a very smooth, slow paced tone. The voice was vary relaxed and gave me a sense of calmness. After, hearing the song over and over again and taking a look at the lyrics my first thought was about all the police brutality happening all around the United States. How the main victims are blacks.
The subject in this song was about the racism happening in America. To describe the subject was hard. I had a very hard time with this song trying to understand all the metaphors and have a good understanding of what she was talking about. I think about this subject all the time. We live in a world where racism still exists some people experience more often than others and some will never experience it all. I would consider myself one of the lucky ones to have never been in a situation where I have felt

discriminated or felt looked down on. But we hear about it on the news everyday for example, presidential candidate Donald Trump always has something mean to say about Hispanics and his main target being the Mexicans. The most crucial part to understanding the subject was when she sang, “Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.” She used the metaphor of strange fruit to the black bodies that were being lynched in the south. The content to this song is trying to get everyone to understand and always remember what is happening in our society. “Blood on the leaves and blood at the root”, I have always heard that a tree is the symbol of life. Blood is being shed on these leaves, but the blood is also falling and seeping into the roots. Which signifies that the blood of blacks has been shed from family members that have passed but it could also mean that this is how life will be this is the foundation of life that racism will always be around. Letting my imagination run wild with this piece My expectations for this song were far from what I had originally predicated. When I saw the title strange fruit first person that came to mind was the rapper Kanye West and his song “Blood on the Leaves”. I was expecting for the song to be upbeat and catchy like Kanye’s song. My expectations were soon denied Cassandra’s version is more of a smooth, powerful jazz song. Kanye’s is the complete opposite. The type of audience she was trying to attract I believe was everyone who was willing to listen. Back in the early 90’s and even before that white men and woman were accustomed to blacks being treated like property. For a woman to try and speak about all the racism still going around

racism still exists it is affecting us as a community and one day could possibly affect our children. She sang a song trying to tell a story when people need to hear it the most. My first and only question would be when you first sang this song to the public what there be anything you would have done differently?

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