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{{Display censorship incident
 
{{Display censorship incident
 
|ongoing=no
 
|ongoing=no
|year=2014
+
|year=1939
 
|region=North America
 
|region=North America
|artist=Conflict Kitchen
+
|artist=Billie Holiday; Censored song: "Strange Fruit"
|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Religion
+
|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion
|confronting_bodies=Conservative pro-Israel groups
+
|confronting_bodies=U.S. Radio and performance spaces
|medium=Mixed Media, Performance Art, Public Art
+
|medium=Music
|date_of_action=November 7, 2014
+
|date_of_action=1939
|location=Pittsburgh
+
|description_of_content="Strange Fruit" is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. It first appeared as apoem in 1937 under the title “Bitter Fruit” in the union publication The New York Teacher, having been written by a New York City public school teacher, Abel Meeropol. Set in the rustic loveliness of the “gallant South”, the poem provided a description of a “black body swinging in the southern breeze” with “the bulging eyes and the twisted mouth”; the scent of magnolia is supplanted by the stench of burning flesh. Meeropol set the poem to music. It protests American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. “Strange Fruit” has been called the original protest song.  
|description_of_content=Conflict Kitchen serves food from countries which the United States is in conflict with.
+
|description_of_incident=From October 2014 Conflict Kitchen has been serving Palestinian food. The food wrappers contains viewpoints from interviews that Conflict Kitchen did with Palestinians in Palestine and in Pittsburgh. Conservative pro-Israel groups considered the sayings on the food wrappers being "anti-Israeli messages".
+
  
A spokesman at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh criticized the restaurant, saying that the Palestinian territories are not “in conflict” with the United States. Furthermore the Jewish organization B’nai B’rith International publicly expressed “deep concern” to the Heinz Endowments, which is a financial backer of Conflict Kitchen. Heinz Endowments president Grant Oliphant wrote “[Heinz Endowments] emphatically does not agree with or support either the anti-Israel sentiments quoted on Conflict Kitchen’s food wrappers or the programme’s refusal to incorporate Israeli or Jewish voices in its material.
+
In early 1939, Billie Holiday was performing in the newly-opened nightclub Café Society in lower Manhattan. Meeropol asked Barney Josephson, the owner of the club, if Holiday would sing it. She sang it to a stunned audience that broke into applause.
  
On November 7th Conflict Kitchen received death threats.
+
Holiday asked her label, Columbia, to record it but they declined, fearing a backlash. She went to Commodore Records; accompanied by her eight-piece Café Society band, they recorded it in a single afternoon. “Strange Fruit” would become her biggest hit and signature track.
|description_of_result=Conflict Kitchen had to close down for 5 days, because of death threats. The incident caused a big support to the Conflict Kitchen, including a public-organised rally and notes of support on the facade.
+
|description_of_incident=The song was blacklisted. Performance of the song was banned in some US cities for fear of provoking civil unrest. It was blocked From U.S. Radio stations.
|image=Conflict Kitchen.jpg
+
|description_of_result=The Library of Congress began adding important American recordings to the National Recording Registry in 2002 to ensure they would not be lost or forgotten. Billie Holiday’s recording of ‘Strange Fruit’ was one of 50 recordings added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in its first year.
 +
|image=BillyHoliday.jpg
 
}}
 
}}
[https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/09/pittsburgh-restaurant-conflict-kitchen-death-threats-israel Pittsburgh restaurant receives death threats in 'anti-Israel messages' furore], The Guardian, Martin Pengelly in New York, Sunday 9 November 2014 12.29 EST
+
[https://ig.ft.com/life-of-a-song/strange-fruit.html Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit — ‘the first unmuted cry against racism’], Financial Times, NOVEMBER 14, 2017
 +
 
 +
[https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/02/frut-f08.html "Strange Fruit": the story of a song], World Socialist Web Site, Feb 2002
 +
 
  
[https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-a-tiny-restaurant-in-pittsburgh-waded-in-to-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/2014/11/14/7b905072-6b4e-11e4-b053-65cea7903f2e_story.html Pittsburgh’s tiny Conflict Kitchen wades into the sprawling Israeli-Palestinian debate], The Washington Post, By Jessica Contrera November 14, 2014
 
  
[http://conflictkitchen.org/2014/11/13/thank-you-to-our-supporters/ THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS], (Conflict Kitchen website)
 
  
  

Revision as of 07:53, 14 February 2018

This Week's Featured Case



BillyHoliday.jpg

Artist: Billie Holiday; Censored song: "Strange Fruit"

Year: 1939

Date of Action: 1939

Region: North America


Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Music

Confronting Bodies: U.S. Radio and performance spaces

Description of Artwork: "Strange Fruit" is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. It first appeared as apoem in 1937 under the title “Bitter Fruit” in the union publication The New York Teacher, having been written by a New York City public school teacher, Abel Meeropol. Set in the rustic loveliness of the “gallant South”, the poem provided a description of a “black body swinging in the southern breeze” with “the bulging eyes and the twisted mouth”; the scent of magnolia is supplanted by the stench of burning flesh. Meeropol set the poem to music. It protests American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. “Strange Fruit” has been called the original protest song.

In early 1939, Billie Holiday was performing in the newly-opened nightclub Café Society in lower Manhattan. Meeropol asked Barney Josephson, the owner of the club, if Holiday would sing it. She sang it to a stunned audience that broke into applause.

Holiday asked her label, Columbia, to record it but they declined, fearing a backlash. She went to Commodore Records; accompanied by her eight-piece Café Society band, they recorded it in a single afternoon. “Strange Fruit” would become her biggest hit and signature track.

The Incident: The song was blacklisted. Performance of the song was banned in some US cities for fear of provoking civil unrest. It was blocked From U.S. Radio stations.

Results of Incident: The Library of Congress began adding important American recordings to the National Recording Registry in 2002 to ensure they would not be lost or forgotten. Billie Holiday’s recording of ‘Strange Fruit’ was one of 50 recordings added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in its first year.

Source:


Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit — ‘the first unmuted cry against racism’, Financial Times, NOVEMBER 14, 2017

"Strange Fruit": the story of a song, World Socialist Web Site, Feb 2002


















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