According to a Jan. 3 report from People, "X Factor" U.K. runner-up Rebecca Ferguson posted on Twitter that she has been asked to perform at the ceremony.
She said she has agreed to do so, but only if she is allowed to sing "Strange Fruit."
"If you allow me to sing 'Strange Fruit,' a song that has huge historical importance, a song that was blacklisted in the United States for being too controversial, a song that speaks to all the disregarded and downtrodden 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," Ferguson said.
The song, which Variety reported was originally a poem by Abel Meeropol, became a protest song for its content about lynchings of African-Americans.
"Southern trees bear strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze," the lyrics say.
"Strange Fruit" has been covered numerous times, most famously by Billie Holiday in 1939 and Nina Simone in 1965.
BBC News reported Jan. 10 that Ferguson is officially not performing at the Friday event.
Ferguson said in a statement that, "Due to circumstances beyond my control concerning the offer to perform at the Inauguration Concert, I was thrown into the middle of a political arena last week."
She detailed some of the discussions that went on about her performance and why she wanted to sing "Strange Fruit" in particular.
I wasn't comfortable with the song choice made on my behalf, and although I'm very blessed to have a gift that gives me amazing opportunities, as a mother and an artist, I had to defend my stance. That is why I made the decision to sing "Strange Fruit" when I was invited.
I requested to sing "Strange Fruit" as I felt it was the only song that would not compromise my artistic integrity and also as somebody who has a lot of love for all people, but has a special empathy as well for African American people and the #blacklivesmatter movement, I wanted to create a moment of pause for people to reflect.
Ferguson also spoke directly to U.S. fans about her decision.
There are many grey areas about the offer for me to perform that I'm unable to share right now, but I will not be singing. However, I genuinely wish your nation nothing but love. I would also like to pay homage to a few of your great female artists: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and the brave and remarkable Eartha Kitt and her beautiful untold story.
I've a lot of love for the United States. It's a constant source of inspiration to myself, if not the whole world. I genuinely wish you all well and hope I will still get to sing "Strange Fruit" for you one day.
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