Songs, Movies & Moments: January 2017

Rebecca Ferguson

A Look at Entertainment

by T.J. Moore –

British X Factor runner-up and singer Rebecca Ferguson has said recently that she will agree to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration under one condition: She wants to sing “Strange Fruit”

Ouch!

“Strange Fruit” is considered the best-known song about racism in America. The song features lyrics that paint a gruesome picture of lynching victims in the Jim Crow South: “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.”

Written by Abel Meeropol, “Strange Fruit” was originally recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 and later covered by Nina Simone. Holiday has been on record saying that the first performance of that song stunned her audience into a slow clap.

The gruesome imagery of the song would be a powerful statement on the Inauguration Day of President-elect Trump, who has had a contentious relationship with the black community. The singer shared her full statement via Twitter in which she wrote:

“I’ve been asked and this is my answer. If you allow me to sing “Strange Fruit” a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United State for being too controversial. A song that speaks to all the disregarded and down trodden black people in the United States. A song that is a reminder of how love is the only thing that will conquer all the hatred in this world, then I will graciously accept your invitation and see you in Washington.”

Omarossa Manigault

Omarossa Manigault is once again “hired.”

A memorable contestant on The Apprentice, the reality-show villain is expected to join President-elect Donald Trump’s White House staff, according to insiders familiar with the decision. Her job will have an emphasis on public engagement.

Manigault was one of a few of Trump’s most prominent African American supporters during the campaign and has been working with his transition team. This will be her second stint in the White House: she worked in the office of Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton Administration.

Tameka “Tiny” Harris and
Clifford ‘T.I.’ Harris

After six years of marriage, Tameka “Tiny” Harris filed for divorce from rapper Clifford ‘T.I.’ Harris on December 7, but now more details are being leaked about what Tiny is asking for, as well as talks of possibly reconciling.

According to court documents obtained by the Jasmine Brand, Tiny is seeking both temporary and permanent physical custody of their minor children—King, Major, and Heiress, but does want joint legal custody with T.I. If the rapper contests that, according to the documents, Tiny wants a Guardian ad Litem appointed by the court to do a “complete in-home study.” She also wants a mental health expert to do a psychological evaluation of both parties as well as the kids, to make a decision in the best interest of the three kids in case her request is contested.

According to “Page Six,” the former Xscape singer also wants equal division of all assets and is seeking child support as well as temporary and permanent alimony.

Tiny may have filed for divorce but the follow-through remains to be seen. Since the filing, sources told TMZ that the pair have gotten together a few times and “things got romantic.” The two were also with their kids for the Christmas holiday—meaning that the split currently isn’t ugly, and reconciliation could be possible.

Wissam Al Mana and
Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson is a new mom.

The pop legend and her husband Wissam Al Mana welcomed their son Eissa on January 3. According to the singer’s rep, “Janet had a stress free healthy delivery.” The news of Jackson’s pregnancy broke back   in May early in the “Unbreakable” tour, which she had to postpone.

Kim Burrell

Gospel singer Kim Burrell has been blasted recently for a sermon she gave in her other life as a Pentecostal preacher. Burrell labeled homosexuality “perverted” in the recent sermon at her Houston, TX-based Love and Liberty Fellowship Church International.

The criticism took off when the video of the sermon began to circulate through social media. Burrell tried to add context to the sermon, but it was too late.

Pharrell Williams, who collaborated with Burrell for “I See a Victory,” a soundtrack song for the movie “Hidden Figures,” took to Instagram to post a message. “I condemn hate speech of any kind. There is no room in this world for any kind of prejudice. My greatest hope is for inclusion for all humanity in 2017 and beyond.”

Janelle Monae, in a comment attached to Williams’s statement, said similarly, “I unequivocally repudiate any and all hateful comments against the LGBTQ community. Actually I’m tired of that label. We all belong to the same community, a shared community called humanity. And today and tomorrow and the next day I will continue to stand with other like-minded people who condemn all statements and actions that would seek to deny the basic humanity of our fellow brothers and sisters.”

Burrell and Williams were scheduled to perform “Victory” on Ellen, but the talk show host cancelled Burrell’s scheduled appearance days after she was recorded delivering the sermon.

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