Belfast Telegraph

Lennox: Strange Fruit critics hurt

Annie Lennox has said online criticism levelled at her remarks about the anti-lynching song Strange Fruit was hurtful and unfair.

The singer gave a TV interview last year about her new album Nostalgia which includes the song made famous by Billie Holiday, but was accused in blogs and Twitter posts of "whitewashing" the songs origins by talking generally about human violence and bigotry rather than saying the song was a direct attack on African-American hangings of the era.

At a Television Critics Association meeting, she said: "It was so painful. I can't even begin to tell you. I'm the last person who would disrespect that history."

She added that because of one blog and what she called its "opportunistic swipe," the "whole thing blew out of context," and said she didn't respond at the time "because if I did that it would all get blown up again."

Annie said: "Let me just say that if I offended anyone - anyone - about not mentioning the lynchings, I wholeheartedly apologise. It was never intended and I was hurt."

A DVD released about the album includes her comment that Strange Fruit is about hangings in the Deep South and that they were "shameful," she noted.

The 60 year old has received numerous honours for her artistry and for her work against AIDS and poverty in Africa, including the Order of the British Empire in 2011.

"I'm a person who really, really cares about social injustice, and racism is so vile to me and it disturbs me, since I was a kid I've been distressed by this, this fact that there's still so much injustice," she said.

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