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Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday

In: Film and Music

Submitted By clo3592
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Strange fruit at first was a poem written by the teacher Abel Meeropol. He was a Jewish teacher from the Bronx. Strange fruit was an anti-lynching poem, published in the Marxist publication n1936, which was then setinto music. The song had been covered by many artists. It inspired many novels that were written. Even though many other artist performed the song but Strange fruit was most famously perform by Billie Holiday. The song was a hit in and out New York when it was published. It was include in the Songs of the Century.
At the time that Abel wrote the poem, American racism and lynching African American was present in the South, and all the other regions in the USA. Abel was really touched by all the violence, especially after seeing a photograph of the 1930 lynching ofThomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. Usually he wouldask others to put his poems into songs. But after seeing the photograph he set the poem into a song himself this time. Hiswife, the black vocalist Laura Duncan first, and him perform it at Madison Square Garden.Then the song was introduced to Billie Holiday who first performed it at Café Society in 1939.
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. When Barney Josephson, founder of the Café Society in Greenwich Village, heard of the song he went and introduced it to Billie. At that time she was recording for Columbia. She said that when she’s singing the song, it made her fearful of retaliation, but because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing it. The song is related to her because her father was denied treatment for a fatal lung disorder because of prejudice. She kept on singing the song not only because everyone liked it, also because the same things like prejudices and lynching African American, were still going on in the South. Strange fruit made her famous with her 1939 recording.
Strange fruit is all about anti-lynching African American. Every stanza of the poem is about the event. This poem is full with sadness. Even when you are listening to the song, the music in the background is shallow. It’s depressing. The pianist that was playing did a good job. Strange fruit is also a powerful song that stirs emotion because when listening to it, it’s like you are experiencing the event. The author used figure of speech where he symbolized the body of a person that is lynched as fruits of a tree. The first line of the first stanza is “Southern trees bear a strange fruit.” And the last line of the third stanza says“Here is a strange and bitter crop.” The author was talking about the body that is left hanging on the three after being lynch. It’s bitter because of the violence.It is strange because trees bear fruits that are tasteful and good. But the ones in the South are strange because of the intense suffering, pain, piercing criesand sorrows when lunching an African American and that’s how the body, which symbolizes the fruits, is bitter. I also have to mention the part where it says “Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck.” The author was talking the bodies that are there for crows eat, for the rain to gather because of all the bloodon the trees and ground like a bloodstream, and for the wind to vanish the rest of the body in the airlike dust. All these lines that are in the poem are very truthful.
In conclusion, Strange fruit isone of the most inspiring song I ever heard. This song is fill with emotions that you yourself can feel their sorrows. Abel Meeropol did a wonderful job at writing the poem. Every word in the poem fits just right. He was very open minded about what he feels toward lynching African Americans. I have no negative comments to say about this poem because this poem is just beautiful and powerful. I love it.

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