John Lamparski/Getty ImagesFollowing online backlash, Chrisette Michele is explaining her decision to perform at President Donald Trump‘s Inaugural Ball. The singer tells Billboard that when she got the invitation via a phone call, “there was literally no hesitation.”
“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 conviction,” she says.
Holliday had agreed to appear at an inaugural event, then backed out in response to criticism. “I changed my phone number also. I didn’t even think to say no. It didn’t cross my mind,” Chrisette says.
“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. And no, I didn’t think twice about it,” she adds.
And even though her critics believe that she performed at Trump’s inaugural ball solely for a paycheck, the “Unbreakable” singer says quite the opposite.
“I recently spoke at Harvard University about how we can use art for chance. So when I got the offer [to sing at the Inaugural Ball], the only thing I thought of was what I could do to fix this. We sent in an offer for how much we charge and they said, ‘Well we don’t have that,’ and the first thing I thought then was how I sang for Barack Obama and Michelle Obama free of charge. This is not a money thing.”
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