“I thought that it was almost my responsibility to not just say yes but to say yes with purpose.”
Chrisette Michele is still responding to the backlash she’s faced for performing at Donald Trump’s Inauguration held last Friday.
In a new interview with Billboard, the R&B singer expands on her initial hopes to “build a bridge” across a divided United States: “The first thing I thought was that I have an opportunity to get in front these people who don’t seem to understand who they’re talking to and show them what we look like.”
She continues: “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 to not just say yes but to say yes with purpose.
“I recently spoke at Harvard University about how we can use art for change. I sat with a lot different folks in politics to see what can happen. So when I got the fer to sing at the Inaugural Ball], the only thing I thought was what I could do to fix this.”
Despite putting her career on the line to perform, she did not get any face time with Trump. She was originally scheduled to sing after his Inauguration speech, but had her slot moved and, ultimately, did not get to meet him:
“Originally I was supposed to perform directly after his first speech… 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?'”
Michele’s music was recently cut from consideration for Spike Lee’s upcoming Netflix series adaptation his debut feature film She’s Gotta Have It. The director wrote on Instagram: “I Wuz Sorry To Read That “Sistuh Girl” Is Singin’ At DT’s Inauguration (And To Use His Fav Word-SAD). I Wuz Thinkin’ ’bout Using Chrisette’s Song- BLACK GIRL MAGIC In My Netflix Series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT…. NOT ANYMORE.”
Lee’s response was referenced in Michele’s new track ‘No Political Genius’, which she released as a attempted mea culpa to those who are outraged. Listen to it below.