Chrisette Michele is speaking out against the backlash she has seen since agreeing to perform as part of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“I am the black song Spike Lee won’t sing,” the Patchogue native begins in “No Political Genius,” a spoken word piece released Monday that responds to the inauguration controversy, including Lee’s decision not to use Michele’s music in his new Netflix series. “Did MLK die for my rights or just spite?”
Michele performed “Intentional” with Travis Greene at the Liberty Ball, one of three official inaugural balls that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended Friday night. Before her appearance, Michele wrote an open letter on her Rich Hipster website saying she chose to participate to help unite the country.
In “No Political Genius,” named for the sign-off to her open letter, Michele expounds on her feelings about the issue. “I won’t let this defeat us,” she says. “I refuse to back down. I’ll use my art as my crown… I won’t divide now. That’s not smart now.”
The Grammy winner drops references to her 2006 duet with Jay Z, as well as Republican Dr. Ben Carson, Trump’s choice for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Democratic congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis. “May I revel in the freedom of speech, in the art of standing for peace,” she says.
Michele’s tour for her new album “Milestone” continues in Seattle on Feb. 8.