Chrisette Michele has officially begun her explanation tour, after her controversial performance at Donald Trump’s Inaugural Ball. Earlier this week, the singer sat down with Billboard to address the rumors and backlash, leading up to and after the event.
Today, Chrisette visited Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club to discuss the situation further, along with the reasoning behind her decision to go against her family and her fans. Apparently, to Chrisette, it was all for a purpose bigger than anyone cares to understand. However, it appears that isn’t enough to convince her peers that the performance was not a form of betrayal. In addition to Spike Lee removing Michele’s song from his upcoming Netflix series, sources say, Michele has been removed from the production of Love Jones the Musical.
In the beginning of the interview, without any hesitation, Charlemagne tha God jumped right in, asking the singer why she decided to perform for Trump.
“I needed them to see us,” she said. “I needed them to see what we have to say. What we look like. How we talk. I needed- With the entire campaign experience I think that many of us were wondering, ‘Who is he talking to?’ You know. You would hear something and say, ‘Why does he think it’s okay to ‘US’ like that?’ So, I needed him to see what ‘US’ look like, because I was as confused as everybody else. Wondering, I’m the one who feels left out. And I would keep hearing him say, or the campaign trail say, ‘For the people who feel like they don’t belong, who feel like they’re not being heard,’ and I was saying, I don’t know if we’re being heard. So, I had to go. I had – there was no hesitation.”
After Michele agreed to preform for the inauguration, she said she immediately turned her phone off because she knew people were not going to understand her decision. Though, without a doubt, she knew she had to go. As the interview continued, she discussed the performance as a business deal. Although she never stated the amount that she got paid to perform, she said she did not get paid $250,000, but if she did, she would be very proud.
“There are black people who wanted to sing in the White House 100 years ago that sang in front of the steps because they wouldn’t let us in and they would sing for free, the way I sang for Barack Obama was for free. But you know, this was a business deal, like any other business deal. I get paid to do what I do,” she said.
While Michele knew the performance would be a big deal, she did not anticipate the negative remarks she received from her fan base, as she believed they knew her and her heart. She says her only goal was to start a conversation in the first attempt to unify America. Only problem is, Donald Trump wasn’t even there to hear it.
“Donald Trump was not at the ball,” she revealed. “So you know, we talk about the media and what we see on television. I was at the ball that he spoke at but he didn’t get there until we were leaving.”
The interview continued and they touched on Spike Lee and Quest Love’s opposition of Michele’s decision, as well as her stance on the Women’s March. However, it all tied back into her decision to perform at the inauguration without any apparent reward. According to Michele though, she did reach through to them.
“After I sang, I walked down the stairs and they were like, ‘Do you want to go to your green room’ and I said, ‘No, I want to meet everyone in this room.’ It was thousands of people in there and they all looked like my accountant,” she said. “They looked like people that I don’t know. They looked nothing like me and I wanted – part of me is brokenhearted by what is going on. Part of my self-esteem, my ego is hurting because I feel like I don’t know if anybody is listening. So a part of me, as a person, not as the singer at the ball but as a person, wanted to say my black matters.”
Ultimately, Michele is still looking to bridge the gap between the “oppressor” and “us,” she is eager to find the similarities between minorities and the majority and she’s creating a television show, to do just that.
Check out the full interview below: