Singer-songwriter Chrisette Michele has confirmed that she will perform for Donald Trump during his inauguration after the news leaked Wednesday, Jan. 18, and many online voiced their dismay.
In an open letter called “We Can’t Be Present If We’re Silent” published Thursday, Jan. 19, the singer expressed sorrow about the possible undoing of progress under the incoming president.
“My heart is broken for our country, for the hopes of our children, for the fights of those who came before us,” Michele wrote. “I cry at the thought that Black history, American history might be in vain. This country has had great moments. God has shined His light upon us.
“Today, I hope that great moments begin in peaceful and progressive conversation. I am willing to be a bridge. I don’t mind ‘These Stones,’ if they allow me to be a voice for the voiceless,” the singer continued, referring to her 2016 single and the negative comments she received. “I am here. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about what matters.’ I am here representing you because this is what matters.”
Michele’s statement comes after reports surfaced that the former Motown Records signee would be among the predominantly white entertainers at the inauguration. A source told the New York Daily News Michele agreed to perform last week, but it was kept under wraps since her team feared resentment from fans.
That fear was realized on Twitter when reports initially swirled.
Added to the cancelled list pic.twitter.com/Sm335iGHjz
— DKT (@darleneturner53) January 18, 2017
Let's think about this. That man doesn't deserve your talent. Neither does his supporters. Just reconsider. It's not too late @ChrisetteM
— Ethan Krane (@theEthanKrane) January 18, 2017
Chrisette Michele GIRL 😒 I have loved you from day one and this is how you repay me?! pic.twitter.com/zMAcTxxGHm
— Mama Bear (@weird_blackgirl) January 18, 2017
The negative reactions continued after Michele posted her open letter.
Trump didn't invite you to the political roundtable to discuss change, he hired you to sing at his inauguration.
— الدين (@Grayse_Kelly) January 19, 2017
@ChrisetteM So, you’re “building a bridge” by performing for an administration that openly dishonors women and minorities?
— XXXV ✨? (@authentic_april) January 19, 2017
@ChrisetteM you REALLY need to STOP quoting MLK to justify this mess. It’s disrespectful & you sound dumb.
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) January 19, 2017
Michele received the worst of it on Instagram.
Celebrities and public figures also chimed in.
I'd pay Chrisette to NOT perform 😔
— 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 (@questlove) January 18, 2017
— deray (@deray) January 19, 2017
The outcry over Michele’s appearance follows the backlash that began when “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Holliday revealed Friday, Jan. 14, that she would perform at a pre-inauguration event “for the people” before backing out later that day.
A similar reaction occurred Monday, Jan. 2, when historically Black college Talladega College in Alabama accepted an invitation for its marching band to perform during the inauguration parade. The school went on to raise more than $600,000 for its participation.