A Clue For the Clueless ...

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ooookay *sigh* ... Chrisette Michele has caught a lot of heat for agreeing to perform at Trump's inauguration, and for good reason.

I have followed Chrisette over the course of her career; this is not the first time she has done something confusing, but this particular situation is a bit unnerving.

There are reasons to take the opportunity, such as:

  • Exposure
  • $Money$
  • A Sense of High-Esteem/Bragging Rights - "Inauguration" is a BIG thing to add to an artist's resume...

Please notice I wrote a "sense of high-esteem"...

These reasons are cliche, but they are reasons nonetheless. Even with these 3 points (and there are probably others), in this case, there are still a ton of clear reasons to NOT take the gig. So many that instead of listing them, I have included a video that goes through them in depth. Not only is the YouTuber evocative, but for real, for real ...

I don't even want to begin to get into the list myself because it's so long that it could stand on its own as a think piece.

Check out the video below, and continue reading afterward!

As an artist, it can be easy to say "yes" to every gig offer, especially the more an artist loves to perform. Nevertheless, sometimes you have to say "NO".

Digressing briefly, I find it interesting that a lot of artists (Chrisette, especially) mention "being able to reach/connect with people" in their reasons of why they love performing, BUT get upset when they are held accountable for not acknowledging their audience. I mean if you value the connection you have with your supporters, show it! Chrisette put out a statement that she is acting as a "voice for voiceless". As far as I'm concerned, Chrisette has not only been silent regarding issues outside of herself, but she (arguably) has acted as an agent for the "Trump Agenda".

Without a doubt Chrisette Michele's audience is mostly comprised of "the voiceless": people Trump has condescended, disclosed intention to disable [in some form or fashion], and now is utilizing his power to follow through on those intentions -

Just today (Jan. 24 - Day 2 of Trump's official "president" status) Trump signed acts to approve the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines ...

Audience aside, Trump has made statements and actions that would presumably offend Chrisette Michele, herself, to the point that she would decline. Chrisette did not display any sense of conviction, or social-consciousness in her inauguration performance. She contradicted her statement about being a voice, which she tried to support with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

So okay ... you get to say you performed at the president's inauguration, but WHICH president did you help celebrate and welcome into the White House?

Chrisette's decision to accept the offer, as well as her reason to follow through with the performance, is unclear and naive. With artistry, it's imperative to have clear conviction and integrity. Your art should reflect the times, enhance your culture, and help push the culture forward. Your endeavors should highlight the status of your career, and be embarked upon with a vision to not only progress, but beyond that, excel.

Though the deed is done, there is still a lesson to be learned, especially for artists and public figures:

Be clear and consistent with your message. 

Also, deliver your message with compassion.

D'Angelo sets a great example in his performance of his song "The Charade" from his Saturday Night Live appearance last year. SNL, like the inauguration, is a MAJOR platform. If Chrisette came out on this tip ... this would be a different story.

Though Dr. King's quote is powerful, I think Chrisette's understanding and attempt to exemplify the sentiment of his quote was confused. Here is another quote with an analogy that might paint a clearer picture.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
— Desmond Tutu

Us "mice" don't appreciate your pseudo-hippie/peacemaker approach to this situation, Chrisette.