Trump vs. Hip-Hop: The Chrisette Michelle Saga

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This week on “Trump vs. Hip-Hop” Chrisette Michelle decides to alienate a chunk of her fan base and some of her peers.

It’s the oldest story in the book. Divisive candidate gets elected to the highest office in the land. Said candidate tries to get entertainers to perform at his inauguration; the entertainers refuse until the candidate’s people find someone desperate enough to take the gig. Enter Chrisette Michelle who has been nominated for a couple Grammy awards and has released several albums of work. For some reason she agreed to perform at one of President Trump’s inauguration balls. I think we all assumed the reason was that she needed work. I’m not even trying to be funny. I might respect her a bit more if it was for a paycheck or exposure or whatever. The music game is difficult and many people will put money ahead of politics. Apparently, however, my assumption was incorrect. According to Ms. Michelle she went and performed in front of Trump supporters for the culture.

       “…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…”

Come on now; let me say that again: COME. ON. NOW. That calculus makes no sense whatsoever: The best way to show people with opposing viewpoints how wrong they are is to go sing and dance for them? That’s the plot of most Disney films, but it usually doesn’t work in real life.

Ms. Michelle went on to say that she believes art can be used to change the world. I won’t disagree with her, but I just can’t believe that was her primary motivation. She denied making a rumored $750,000 at the event but she confirmed that she did get paid. I’m sure the amount alleviated a lot of guilt.

And I’m not the only one skeptical of Ms. Michelle’s goals. Questlove has criticized her and Spike Lee said he won’t use her music in his upcoming Netflix series “Black Girl Magic.” Ms. Michelle said that her family has disowned her. That may have been hyperbole, but they’re probably not too pleased.

To deal with the criticisms, Ms. Michelle released a song titled “No Political Genius.” The song addresses the attacks made on her character and defends her choice to perform at the inaugural ball. Check the song out here.

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Bobby Wilson is a writer and teacher living in Nanjing, China. He argues too much, cooks constantly and loves basketball. Also film. He has been published in Pop Matters, Anxy Magazine and many other places. Follow him on twitter (@chewingbones) or visit his website.

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