Bettye LaVette – “Strange Fruit” (Billie Holiday Cover)
On her forthcoming album Blackbirds, 74-year-old soul singer Bettye LaVette covers songs recorded by the legendary Black female artists that came before her: Dinah Washington, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Della Reese, Ruth Brown. And now she’s shared her rendition of “Strange Fruit,” the powerful anti-lynching anthem popularized by Billie Holiday.
“It really is horrifying that nearly 80 years later, through Billie’s lifetime and now my 74 years, the meaning of this song still applies,” LaVette writes in a statement. “It might not be men and women hanging from trees, but these public executions are now on video and it feels like they’re doing it for sport. I hope the song will be a reminder that we have had enough, and I support the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Listen to LaVette’s take on the iconic “Strange Fruit” below.
Blackbirds is out 8/28 via Verse.