During an interview with Billboard, Chrisette Michele broke her silence about her inauguration performance. Her decision to perform drew massive criticism, and just days later, she released “Still American,” a poetic response to the inauguration.
“When we got the phone call, and this may sound crazy, there was literally no hesitation,” she said of her decision to perform at the Inaugural Ball.
“I turned my phone off. After seeing what happened to Jennifer Holliday, I literally turned my phone off because I knew if I was going to make any type of decision, I couldn’t be swayed left or right by what anybody thought. I had to just go with my own convictions. I changed my phone number also,” she added.
“I didn’t even think to say no. It didn’t cross my mind. 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, so that was my reasoning. And no, I didn’t think twice about it.”
She also spoke about her upcoming poetry album, No Political Genius, and her future plans.
“With ‘No Political Genius’ and with the production I’m about to create for television with No Political Genius, I’m taking on the mission of speaking to congressmen and women, elected officials all around the country and then speaking to people just like me who don’t understand what they’re talking about, bring them our questions and get some answers on how we can move forward. And I think that begins with conversation. With No Political Genius, that is my goal — just to begin the conversation. Everyone is having some passionate response to what’s happening even if we don’t understand. Yeah, we laugh about the comb over but it’s not funny.”
Check out the full interview here.