Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” - 92Y, New York

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Billie Holiday: Reaching for the Moon—An Exploration and Celebration

Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”

David Margolick, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Robert O’Meally in Conversation

Jan 24, 2021

Time magazine named “Strange Fruit” “the Song of the Century” in 1999. David Margolick, author of Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Chair of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University and author of In Search of Billie Holiday, and Robert O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and founder and director of the Center for Jazz Studies, join us for a deep dive into the song, its origins, and its enduring resonance. How did a poem written and set to music by a largely-unknown, Communist English teacher from the Bronx become Billie Holiday’s signature song? How did it contribute to both defining and destroying her? How does it fit into the history of American, and international, protest music? And why, more than 80 years after Holiday first recorded it, does it continue to pack such a punch? Hear three brilliant minds explore these questions and more, about a song like no other.

Purchase a copy of David Margolick’s Strange Fruit.

Purchase a copy of Farah Jasmine Griffin’s If You Can't Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday.

Purchase a copy of Robert O’Meally’s Lady Day: The Many Faces Of Billie Holiday.

David Margolick

David Margolick, a former long-time reporter for The New York Times and Vanity Fair, is the author of several books …

Farah Jasmine Griffin

Farah Jasmine Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature …

Robert G. O’Meally

Robert G. O’Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University …

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