Annie Lennox Confronts ‘Strange Fruit’ Criticism

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Annie Lennox addressed the controversy surrounding her remarks regarding “Strange Fruit,” a song about anti-lynching. “It was so painful. I can’t even begin to tell you. I’m the last person who would disrespect that history.” During an interview last fall, Lennox was promoting her album, Nostalgia, that includes a remake of Billie Holiday‘s “Strange Fruit” song. The singer failed to mention the origin of the 1930s song, which was a direct attack on African-American hangings of the era. Blog sites, posts on social media, and critics accused Lennox of “whitewashing” the true meaning of the song. Instead of addressing the lynchings, Lennox touched on human violence and bigotry

Lennox also said that her comments were taken out of context. “Let me just say that if I offended anyone–anyone— about not mentioning the lynchings, I wholeheartedly apologize. It was never intended and I was hurt.” Lennox reiterated she really cares about social injustice and racism. She referred to racism as “vile” and “disturbing.” A DVD about her album Nostalgia does include the singer’s comment that “Strange Fruit” is about lynchings in the Deep South

Annie Lennox achieved worldwide success as the member of the Eurythmics. The duo’s second album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) featured the hit single of the same name. The song peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has been referred to as the duo’s “signature song.” The Eurythmics have released nine studio albums, and they have sold an estimated seventy-five million records worldwide. 

In 1992, Lennox embarked on a solo career and released her debut album, Diva. The album featured the singles “Why,” and “Walking on Broken Glass.” Her second effort, Medusa, peaked at Number 1 on the UK Albums Chart. The album went on to sell over six million copies worldwide, and it won a Grammy award for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance in 1996. Throughout her career, Lennox has won four Grammy Awards, a Billboard Century Award, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Into the West.” Annie Lennox’s album Nostalgia is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Album at this year’s Grammy Awards.