Chrisette Michele on Inaugural Ball Performance: ‘My Family Has Disowned Me’

"I’m the black poster child for discord right now."

By Amanda Wicks

Chrisette Michele faced immense criticism from her peers and the public at large when she agreed to sing at Donald Trump’s Inaugural Ball on January 20th.

Related: Maynard James Keenan on Trump Presidency: ‘The U.S. is Long Overdue for a Fall’

Speaking with Billboard in an interview published today (January 24th), Michele detailed the personal consequences she has experienced as a result. “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,” she said.

And she didn’t even get to meet Trump. Michele was slated to perform immediately after he delivered his first speech, but things ended up getting flipped around. “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,'” she said. “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.”

Before her performance, Michele shared an open letter about why she decided to participate, but that didn’t stop director Spike Lee from pulling her song “Black Girl Magic” from his upcoming Netflix Series She’s Gotta Have It. And Questlove even offered her money not to perform. Michele said she used the night to her benefit and spoke with as many attendees as possible about issues close to her heart. “And there were a lot of people who are excited to sit down and talk, who worked on his campaign,” she said.

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