Chrisette Michele admits just about everyone warned her to stay away from Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, including her fans and her husband. Yet she decided to perform at one of Trump’s inaugural balls and her career collapsed as a result.
The R&B singer told The Washington Post she accepted $75,000 for the gig, thinking she could “be a bridge” to uniting the divided country. Instead, she divided her fans and became an outcast.
The 36-year-old performer said in the article published last weekend that fans felt like she “betrayed them” by entertaining Trump and his supporters.
“They didn’t feel represented in that moment. They felt misrepresented,” she explained about her fans. “They felt further misunderstood, and they felt the person they were depending on to speak on their behalf just betrayed them.”
After receiving criticism and death threats for taking part in the inauguration, Michele said she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered a miscarriage amid the stress.
There would be more fallout — she lost a record distribution deal, and radio stations removed her music from their playlists.
“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,” said Michele, referring to the time when she launched her career. “And I think that is the bright side… I want people to know that it’s okay to expect more from me.”
Before things went south in 2017, the neo-soul singer and songwriter won a Grammy award and expanded her fan base by appearing on the TV One reality series, R&B Divas: Los Angeles.
Now after two years of trying to rebuild her career, she is back on stage. But things aren’t the same.
She did the interview at Keswick Theatre outside Philadelphia. Years ago, Michele performed at the very same venue and filled nearly all 1,500 seats. This time she was surrounded by empty chairs.
Despite the smaller than expected crowd, Michele said she was glad to be in front of her fans.
“When you go to a theater that’s half full, you don’t say, ‘Well, it’s half full,’” she explained. “You sing to the people that are there.”