Billie Holiday’s recording of “Strange Fruit,” shocked listeners in 1939. Seventy-five years later, the song’s portrayal of racist lynching retains its disturbing power as commentary on a shameful part of the American past. Trumpeter, bandleader, blogger and broadcaster Steve Provizer’s radio drama about the singer and the history of the record is debuting this fall. It will air on stations across the country. The story involves not only Holiday, but also the song’s composer, and the club and record label owners who had the courage to act on their belief in “Strange Fruit.”
Mr. Provizer (pictured right) says, “I would like to emphasize that I hope the program can be used in educational and non-profit settings to stimulate conversations on racism and culture.” He has granted Rifftides permission to give readers a link to a page at PRX (Public Radio Exchange) where you can listen to the quarter-hour drama. Click here.
Steve Provizer will discuss the background of the program and play excerpts on the Morgan White, Jr. show on WBZ, the CBS station in Boston. The show is scheduled for Saturday, November 8 at 11 p.m. EDT. It will be streamed live on the internet at this site.