Chrisette Michele received an avalanche of criticism after it was revealed that she would perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. Responding to the widespread backlash, the R&B songstress has released an open letter, titled “We Can’t Be Present If We’re Silent.”
“My heart is broken for our country, for the hopes of our children, for the fights of those who came before us,” she 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 & 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.”
She continued: “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.”
Following the performance announcement, Michele was bashed by Trump detractors.
Director Spike Lee wrote: “I Wuz Sorry To Read That ‘Sistuh Girl’ Is Singin’ At DT’s Inauguration (And To Use His Fav Word-SAD). I Wuz Thinkin’ ’bout Using Chrisette’s Song- BLACK GIRL MAGIC In My Netflix Series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT…. NOT ANYMORE. And Dat’s Da Truth, Ruth.”
The Roots’ Questlove even offered to pay Michele not to perform. Talib Kweli said he would also chip in. “I got 5 on it,” he tweeted.
The inauguration festivities are slated to feature performances from country singer Toby Keith, Motown crooner Sam Moore, and rock group 3 Doors Down, among others. The inauguration events will take place over the course of three days.
On Thursday, Trump will host the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration. Friday will include the inaugural swearing-in ceremony, as well as the inaugural parade and inaugural balls. A national prayer service will then take place on Saturday. Several anti-Trump protests are also taking place this week and into the weekend all across the country.