Five minutes and 18 seconds is all it took to ruin and erase more than a decade of hard work and dedication, in a failed attempt to build “a bridge” between the black community and the controversial, divisive Celebrity-in-Chief, Donald Trump.
But now, two years after the career-ending decision, Chrisette Michele is trying to make a comeback.
After the world mourned over the rigged election of Donald Trump, Michele, against the advice of her fans, peers and even her husband, accepted the opportunity to perform for one of Trump’s inaugural balls.
Since then, the Grammy Award-winning singer’s career has suffered, and her shows, which were once packed with 1,500 seats, are now nearly empty. She’s also lost an album distribution deal, lost connection with radio, has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered a miscarriage that she believes was due to the stress of death threats and criticisms. But, amid the backlash of that one decision, Michele understood where she went wrong.
“People didn’t feel hopeful from that moment,” she said. “They didn’t feel represented in that moment. They felt misrepresented. They felt further misunderstood, and they felt the person they were depending on me to speak on their behalf just betrayed them.”
However, she still tried to defend herself and explain her message with the themes of unity from her African Skirt to her Christian song choice, but it fell on deaf ears and catapulted the singer into a pool of dark and suicidal thoughts. Then came the miscarriage, which also brought criticisms after Michele used another woman’s photo to share her experience, an incident she said was a mistake.
Although at the time, she considered hanging up her mic for good, she’s back with a new mindset.
“While I felt like people took so much away from me in those two years, I’m more grateful for finally having time to look at the last 12” years, Michele said, referencing her first album release. “And I think that is the bright side…I want people to know that it’s okay to expect more from me.”
Now, she’s mentoring other black women and focusing on her mental health in an attempt to rebuild and rebrand her career.
After a year off the grid, Michele found new peace and purpose, from opening a Yoga studio, taking up new dance classes and launching a new mentoring program aimed at helping women through her personal and professional successes.