After being widely criticized for performing at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Chrisette Michele fights back once again with “No Political Genius.”
Billed as the first release from her forthcoming album Still American, the track is a spoken word poem that directly addresses her critics like Spike Lee and Questlove.
“I am the black song Spike Lee won’t sing,” she says in her poem. “I am the black voice inauguration bells ring.” Later, she adds: “I’m still black girl magic. I’m still American, tragic.”
Later in the poem, she adds: “For John Lewis and Ben Carson, Questlove, Spike Lee, and before them, I won’t divide now. That’s not smart now. God before me, I won’t back down. This is my damn America now.”
After announcing that she was going to perform on Inauguration Day, Spike Lee revealed that he considered using Michele’s song “Black Girl Magic” on his Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It. “Not anymore,” he wrote. Questlove responded to the news by saying he would pay her “to NOT perform” at the event.
Following the backlash, Michele released a statement in defense of her decision to perform. “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.”
According to Billboard, “No Political Genius” is the first cut off Michele’s Still American album, the follow-up to last year’s Milestone.