Annie Lennox defends herself against 'painful' criticism over 'Strange Fruit' comments - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Clear
-0.2°C

Annie Lennox defends herself against 'painful' criticism over 'Strange Fruit' comments

Annie Lennox speaks on stage during the "Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert" performance and press conference at the PBS 2015 Winter TCA on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
January 20, 2015 - 8:04 AM

PASADENA, Calif. - Annie Lennox says online criticism levelled at her remarks about the anti-lynching song "Strange Fruit" was hurtful and unfair.

"It was so painful. I can't even begin to tell you. I'm the last person who would disrespect that history," Lennox said.

In a TV interview last fall about her new CD, "Nostalgia," and the "Strange Fruit" track it includes, Lennox didn't mention that the 1930s song made famous by Billie Holiday was a direct attack on African-American hangings of the era.

Blogs and posts on Twitter accused her of "whitewashing" the song's origins by referring generally to human violence and bigotry while speaking to PBS host Tavis Smiley last October.

Lennox, appearing Monday night at a Television Critics Association meeting to promote a spring PBS "Nostalgia" concert special, was asked about the controversy. She said she was glad to address it after initially remaining silent.

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

"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" by the blog, she said.

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 Scottish-born Lennox, 60, who first gained success with Dave Stewart as the Eurythmics in the 1980s, 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.

News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
  • Pier 1 closing all of its stores in Canada
    Pier 1 Imports, Inc. announced today that it has entered into bankruptcy protection and is pursuing a sale. The retailer  commenced voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in the U.S. Bankrupt
  • Vernon's Atlantis waterpark gets a new name
    A popular Vernon waterpark is starting its transformation with a new name. Formerly known as Atlantis Waterslides, the waterpark, located north of the city along Highway 97, has been renamed
  • Killing of 7-year-old girl stokes anger in Mexico
    MEXICO CITY - The killing of a 7-year-old girl on the southern outskirts of Mexico City has stoked rising anger over brutal slayings of women, including one found stabbed to death and skinned earl
  • Mammoth's tooth found in Williams Lake and preserved for decades by B.C. family
    What was once part of a mammoth-sized smile now is a very old conversation starter in Bryan Johnson's Vancouver home. Johnson's stepfather found a mammoth tooth in a creek at the sou
  • Vernon family captures mesmerizing melting ice
    A Vernon family was on their way home from Kelowna when they made a pit stop after noticing a beautiful scene along Wood Lake. Matthew Royal and his daughters noticed how “cool”
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile