By BBC Newsbeat
“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.”
Strange Fruit was originally recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 but was based on a poem by Abel Meeropol.
A sample from Nina Simone’s 1965 version was used on Kanye West’s Blood On The Leaves in 2013.
“I genuinely wish your nation nothing but love,” Rebecca Ferguson’s statement continues.
“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.”
2010 America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho will sing the US national anthem at next Friday’s inauguration.
Rebecca Ferguson, who was the runner-up on The X Factor in 2010, released her fourth studio album – Superwoman – last year.