More

When Billie Holiday performed this song live, she refused to come back for an encore.

Though it was originally written by someone else as a protest song of sorts, this is one of those gems that a singer just totally owns from the start.

When Billie Holiday performed this song live, she refused to come back for an encore.

"Strange Fruit" was shocking to many people when it came out in 1939. Even Ms. Holiday herself was initially reluctant to sing it, fearing retribution. Though many people knew that lynchings of African-Americans in the South were common, there was much resistance to ending it, since it was an effective means of social control and political intimidation by Southern whites.

Holiday said she always thought of her father when she sang this song; he died at age 39 after being denied medical treatment at a Texas "whites only" hospital.


Because the song was so powerful and poignant for Holiday, there were some rules when she performed it: She would close the evening with the song, the waiters would stop service when the song began, and the room would be in total darkness except for a spotlight on Billie Holiday's face. And there would be no encore.

Her voice is strong and impressive in this clip, but just look at the incredible expressiveness in her eyes as she sings the haunting lyrics.

Trigger warning: lyrics about racial violence.

Need a mood boost to help you sail through the weekend? Here are 10 moments that brought joy to our hearts and a smile to our faces this week. Enjoy!

1. How much does this sweet little boy adore his baby sister? So darn much.

Oh, to be loved with this much enthusiasm! The sheer adoration on his face. What a lucky little sister.

2. Teens raise thousands for their senior trip, then donate it to their community instead.

When it came time for Islesboro Central School's Class of 2021 to pick the destination for their senior class trip, the students began eyeing a trip to Greece or maybe even South Korea. But in the end, they decided to donate $5,000 they'd raised for the trip to help out their community members struggling in the wake of the pandemic instead.

Keep Reading Show less