It’s been four days since Chrisette Michele performed at Donald Trump‘s inauguration and the only question I have for her is: “Was it worth it?”
The singer recently gave Billboard the inside scoop on the entire experience and revealed her process in deciding to do the performance, the backlash, and being disowned by her family. To add insult to injury…she didn’t even meet Donald Trump.
Read a few excerpts from Chrisette Michele’s interview below:
Take me through your thought process for the decision to perform at the Inaugural Ball.
When we got the phone call, and this may sound crazy, there was literally no hesitation. 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. 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.
I’ll say that the backlash, I did personally feel, came from members of my extended family who decided that they didn’t want to speak to me anymore or support my family in supporting me. As far as social media goes, I didn’t really look at it much. The two biggest things that I did experience internally was two celebrities who I had much respect for: Questlove and Spike Lee. Those were kind of the two things that I took a look at.
Did you perform at the Ball for free?
No, I didn’t perform for free. One, it wasn’t $750,000, but my manager did negotiate my contract.
Were you able to meet President 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.
So, my question to still remains…was it worth it, Chrisette Michele?