Independent Lens 1999 | TV Show Watchlist

Independent Lens

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Independent filmmakers are spotlighted in this anthology, which concentrates on documentaries, but occasionally features artist profiles and offbeat fictional films.

Premiered: August 9, 1999

Rating: TV-PG

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Season 4, Episode 7 Strange Fruit

First Aired: April 8, 2003

“Strange Fruit” explores the controversial song about lynching (“Black body swinging in the Southern breeze”) that was made famous by Billie Holiday's 1939 recording. Included: a 1958 Holiday performance of the song (plus snippets sung by Pete Seeger, Josh White and Cassandra Wilson), and a profile of its composer, Abel Meeropol, who later adopted convicted spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg's two sons. Says one of them: “Until the last racist is dead, 'Strange Fruit' will be relevant.”