Annie Lennox Hurt By "Strange Fruit" Criticism

Lacy LangleyLife10 Comments

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Annie Lennox came under fire last fall after appearing on Tavis Smiley.

The thing she was slammed for was not something she said, but something she didn't say.

Annie Lennox was harrassed on many a blog and tweet for "whitewashing" and simplifying the meaning of her cover song, "Strange Fruit". The song was originally sung by Billie Holiday in the 1930's and was a song against lynching of African-Americans.

In the Tavis Smiley interview last fall, Annie Lennox made reference to the song's meaning as a song against general violence and bigotry. That's it.

On Monday night at the Television Critics Association meeting to promote her PBS Great Performances: Annie Lennox "Nostalgia" in Concert special, Annie Lennox had her chance to explain just what happened.

"I was talking to Tavis. We were having a conversation, and I was very engaged with him," Annie Lennox told reporters. "And I guess I was thinking at the time, he knows what I’m talking about. I wasn’t thinking about the other picture. I was thinking more about the undercurrent of violence that is inherent in the entire human race."

She added, "So I didn’t refer to the lynchings in our interview because I already assumed, obviously, that Tavis, being an incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable man, especially of African origin, would know what I was talking about. And then somebody took issue with that, and the whole thing exploded, and it was so painful for me."

Annie Lennox later admitted, "It was so painful -- I can’t even begin to tell you -- because I’m the last person that would disrespect that history. And then, one person put on a nasty blog this, and the whole thing blew out of context, and I couldn’t come back [to Tavis' show], because if I did that, it would all get blown up again, so I had to just be quiet, and this is a phenomena of our times that we live in with Twitter and social media and everybody commenting is that it’s very tricky."

Yes, it is tricky. With the way things are now, you can't get away with anything! What do you think? Should Annie Lennox have been chastised for her comments on the origin of "Strange Fruit"?

Or do you think she just got caught up in the interview and the importance of the details slipped her mind?

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.

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