Since Chrisette Michele agreed to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration, there has been no shortage of backlash responses, one of which was a decision by Spike Lee to pull Michele’s music from his upcoming Netflix series. Billboard caught up with the songstress to find out more about what went into that decision as well as her thoughts on all that’s transpired in the days leading up to and directly following her performance.
“I didn’t even think to say no. It didn’t cross my mind,” said Chrisette. “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 to not just say yes but to say yes with purpose.”
She then addressed the rumors that she performed for $750k. “We sent in an offer for how much we charge and they said, ‘Well we don’t have that,’ and the first thing I thought then was how I sang for Barack and Michelle Obama free of charge. This is not a money thing,” she told #Billboard. When asked if she performed for Trump for free, she replied, “No, I didn’t perform for free. One, it wasn’t $750,000, but my manager did negotiate my contract.”
Chrisette also mentioned that after all the uproar and negativity she dealt with, she didn’t even get to meet Trump.
“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.”
When asked if she took that as a slap in the face she said:
I know he has a lot of other things going on. I don’t know if, like Barack and Michelle, he’s listening to my album or that I’ll be on his summer playlist, so I don’t want to take it that way. I’d rather be optimistic and think that they’ll come another chance where I can talk to him. But 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.
What are your thoughts? Did you expect anything different from the Donald?
Read the rest of the interview over on Billboard’s site.