Chrisette Michele’s Inaugural Ball performance didn’t go as she expected.
In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was revealed that the 34-year-old R&B singer had agreed to perform for the incoming president. The news was fairly shocking, as many A-list, B-list, and C-list entertainers had refused to perform at the events—presumably out of fear of media backlash. Which is exactly what happened to Michele.
In an interview with Billboard, the singer revealed that Twitter users weren’t the only ones to criticize her decision to perform at the ball; her family members—some of whom are activists, including former Black Panthers—have since disowned her. And to make matters worse, Trump did not personally acknowledge her at the event.
Originally I was supposed to perform directly after his first speech, and I had done that with Barack Obama before, so I was used to that kind of experience. And 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." 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.
Michele acknowledged the president “has a lot of other things going on,” but remained hopeful that she would one day meet him.
She also attempted to shut down claims that her decision was strictly motivated by money. Though the singer claimed she performed for Barack Obama for free, she admitted the Inaugural Ball was a paid gig, but not as much as people believe.
“No, I didn’t perform for free,” she told Billboard. “One, it wasn’t $750,000, but my manager did negotiate my contract.”
You can read Michele’s full interview here.