After all the hullabaloo, Chrisette Michele is talking to Billboard once and for all about her decision to perform at the Trump Inauguration and her experience with it all. Michele performed at one of the inaugural balls, and faced a ton of backlash, including Spike Lee dropping her music from one of his upcoming films, and even musical peer Questlove, who tweeted that he would pay her not to perform. Yesterday, she dropped a spoken word piece called “No Political Genius,” defending her decision to perform. Now in her first interview since the controversy, Michelle tells all.
Regarding making the decision to perform, she said she didn’t even hesitate to accept the offer.
The first thing I thought was that I have an opportunity to get in front of these people who don’t seem to understand who they’re talking to and show them what we look like. I felt automatically committed to making sure that I stood up for the women who’ve felt disrespected and the minorities who felt disrespected, communities that felt that they weren’t being heard or understood. I thought that it was almost my responsibility not just to say yes but to say yes with purpose, so that was my reasoning. And no, I didn’t think twice about it.
She also revealed she didn’t get a chance to meet with Trump (which I don’t know why she thought she would anyway), leaving her frustrated. She also revealed that her family disapproved her her choice and that they “disowned” her.
Originally I was supposed to perform directly after his first speech, and I had done that with Barack Obama before, so I was used to that kind of experience. And the woman who organized the event came and told me, “Now you’re going to go first, and he’s going to go after you.” I looked her in the eye and said, “My family has disowned me. If you decide to Google me, you’ll see that America is writing about me in their newspapers. I’m the black poster child for discord right now, and he’s not going to shake my hand?” So no, I didn’t get to meet him… I know he has a lot of other things going on.
But she did work the room and exchange contacts with people who worked on his campaign.
I definitely did take the time enough to meet as many of the 60,000 people in the room as I could that night and begin to exchange information. And there were a lot of people who are excited to sit down and talk, who worked on his campaign.
But, despite her decision to perform, she’s taking action to make a difference in another way. She told Billboard she’s working on a television series also titled “No Political Genius,” which she describes as “taking on the mission of speaking to congressmen and women, elected officials all around the country and then speaking to people just like me who don’t understand what they’re talking about, bring them our questions and get some answers on how we can move forward.”
Today, she dropped her rendition”Summertime,” another track from her forthcoming project No Political Genius below.
In a post to IG, Chrisette explains why she chose to cover this classic:
Read the full interview HERE.