Complete Story

Perry, Samuel

Winter 2013, 43:5, pages 449-474

‘‘Strange Fruit,’’ Ekphrasis, and the Lynching Scene


This essay examines the way in which the song ‘‘Strange Fruit,’’ as performed by Billie Holiday, employs ekphrasis in order to make appeals condemning the practice of lynching. In developing the visual aspects of a lynching scene through ekphrasis, Holiday engages audiences in a way that encourages them to experience the lynching scene with all five senses. The sensory experience of the scene and Holiday’s performance creates a strong condemnation of lynching and practices of racial violence.

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