There have been more than a handful of Black public figures who have lent their names, images, or celebrity to the cause or propaganda of Donald Trump. And while all of them may have been criticized to some extent, the only one who was canceled was singer and songwriter Chrisette Michele. Regular Black folk and other fellow celebrities came out of the woodwork to condemn her actions. She was actually canceled in terms of tours, album sales and public perception.
While she’s spoken before about her decision and intention of performing at a 2016 Trump inauguration event, during a recent interview with Terrell for his YouTube channel, Chrisette Michele went in depth about her decision, the affects of the cancelation on her psyche and relationships and what she’s learned about herself in the process since.
See what she had to say below.
“It was the wrong thing to do. My question has always been, what was Travis Greene’s intention because his album became number one. Were we singing his song? Did he start the first verse? Was I singing back up with a choir that still sings to this day? I just want to know why no one saw them?
Terrell: There is a difference in tone in how we treat our Black men and our Black women. There is a major difference. I mean, some of our prominent Black men can go and kiss 45 on the forehead and were still winning Grammy’s and we’re calling him the greatest of all time. It’s a problem for me. Keep it consistent. Be consistent if we’re going to do it.
Chrisette: I don’t know for sure if it was a gender issue. That moment was the moment where I learned how petrified I am of rejection. My mistake in my personal growth journey with the inauguration was wanting to be seen as a good person. And when you are trying to be validated, you will quickly be rejected. Because people notice when you are wanting to be a part of something. They may not realize that’s the subconscious of who you are but they can see the insecurity. So you can’t stand on that stage insecure. So the difference between me and Travis was he was very secur e and I was petrified.
I was trying to be something and he already was.
While Chrisette acknowledges that it was the wrong thing to do, she says she doesn’t regret it.
“I don’t regret it. I learned a lot. I learned about myself. I learned about my fears, I learned about my insecurities. I didn’t know I was that insecurity until I was rejected and I was like, ‘Do I even like her?’”
Chrisette Michele shared that after the performance at the inauguration she didn’t hear from Greene. But she acknowledged that it may have been hard to reach her.
“I also changed my number. I changed my life. I went into hibernation. I really got quick because if I would have listened to everything everybody was saying, I would have lost my mind. Who keeps their mind in that kind of environment?”
As she’s stated so many times before, Chrisette believed her presence at the inauguration would serve as a means to heal the country in a way.
“When you’re crazy enough to think you matter. When you’re crazy enough to think you can be a star, that’s a crazy, outlandish, preposterous idea. The fact that I think that I will travel around the world and people will hold hands is insane. The things that were going on to my eyes and ears were, ‘What can we do to make this a better place?’”
Chrisette also shared that the inauguration happened right after she had just gotten married and the backlash naturally put a strain on the union.
“Before that happened. I had just gotten married so I was focused on figuring out that whole marriage thing. And so, when I was canceled right, smack dab at the beginning of my marriage, it put a strain on my marriage. And now, as I emerge from the ashes, I am so comfortable in my skin. You can’t take this away from me. But before, I almost thought that somebody might take me away from me. I would cry to God, why am I still writing, God? Am I insane that I still believe in the gift that you’ve given me? What did you make me?
He didn’t cancel me. But if people didn’t cancel me, I don’t know if I would have fallen in love with who God loves.
For everyone who’s ever felt misunderstood, I just got to be a mirror of their experience and hopefully my recovery showed people after misunderstanding and rejection, there’s evolution and you get to come back and do it again, by the grace of God.”
People will rush you to evolve and evolving takes time.
Lastly, Chrisette shared that this whole ordeal allowed her to redesign and craft her life into what she would like it to be.
“I’m designing my life. It’s very exciting creative endeavor to design your life from the rug you put in your living room, to what you put in your smoothies, to what you put in your closet, to where you want the part in your hair, to being meticulous about the music and waiting until you have the violins. I’m designing my life. Every word that I say, I am crafting in the expertise of my experience and the wisdom that I’ve been through. I’m designing my life. I went through a lot but now I get to create and be a blessing. I wasn’t supposed to be a blessing. I was supposed to die. I was supposed to give up. I wasn’t’ supposed to learn anything. I wasn’t supposed to get dressed again. I wasn’t supposed to do my hair again, to put on no lip gloss.
And I’m putting on lip gloss. I’m meticulous about it. I choose each color meticulously. That’s what my life is now. I am artist, for real, for real. So, it feels good.”
After this very real conversation, Chrisette and Terrell got into the fun part of his show, where his guests sing down.