Andra Day's cover of this iconic 1930s protest song is exactly what 2017 needs.

The first time you hear the song "Strange Fruit,"  the air gets sucked out of the room.

The haunting, poignant protest anthem was written as poem by Abel Meeropol and made famous by Billie Holiday, who sang and recorded the song in 1939.

Meeropol employs the metaphor of a tree and its bitter fruit to symbolize the violence and terror of lynching, which claimed the lives of more than 4,000 black people between 1877 and 1950.


But the song manages to take your breath away largely because nearly 80 years after it was written, in the wake of police violence against black and brown people, it still feels as relevant as ever.

"Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees."


All GIFs via Andra Day/YouTube.

Vocalist Andra Day masterfully covered the iconic song and recently released a stirring video.

Much like the subject matter and Meeropol's gripping lyrics, the imagery presented in Day's video is indelible. Not only is Day clad in flowers and broken shackles, but much of the video was shot on sites of known lynchings.

The victims' names and dates of death are shared at the conclusion of the powerful video.

This small but powerful tribute is more than most lynching victims have received because most lynching sites go unmarked, and there are no national monuments to the thousands who were tortured and murdered. (Though one is in the works.)

"Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh."


Day's video is part of Lynching in America, a digital storytelling project from the Equal Justice Initiative.

Inspired by their comprehensive report on lynching from 2015, EJI created an interactive experience to explore the legacy and effects of race-baed violence and terror. Visitors to the site can hear powerful stories from the descendants of lynching victims and those driven away from the South by racially motivated terror, the primary cause of the Great Migration in the early 20th century.

There are also interactive maps to see a state-by-state breakdown of these crimes and the impact they had on the demographics of the nation. Users will also find information about mass incarceration and excessive punishment — the evolution of race-based terror and injustice.

According to its website, "By creating a digital experience for a wide audience, EJI hopes to spark an honest conversation about our history of racial injustice that begins a process of truth and reconciliation."

A couple hug during a protest against police violence in Manhattan. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Until we confront America's bitter history, we will sing of "Strange Fruit."

Until equality truly exists, the hard work must continue. The tough conversations, the demonstrations, the calls for freedom will continue. And protest anthems like this will lead the way.

Because in the words of Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of EJI, "Slavery didn't end in 1865. It evolved."

"Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop."


Watch Day's stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" below and be sure to check out Lynching in America.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."