Chrisette Michele, Kanye West, and People Not Giving A Shit About Black Women.
Six studio albums.
Two Grammy nominations and one win.
Chrisette Michele has a voice that could bring peace to the world.
Yet three years ago she made a decision that brought war to her life.
What her stint on “R&B Divas L.A.” didn’t do to dismantle what she had built as a singer, her choice to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration finished the job.
I admit to being initially confused about her motives. Did she consult her publicist or a PR entity about execution? Did she listen to her husband who didn’t agree with her decision? Was there not another way?
Chrisette’s intent to “unify” and be the bigger person in the face of racism took a backseat to the optics. The optics in fact pushed her intent completely out of the moving car that was her career.
As a result, she lost the lion’s share of her fans, lost a child to a miscarriage, and eventually lost her marriage. All from what looked like support for Donald Trump, but really wasn’t.
Enter 2018 and Kanye West wearing a MAGA hat and saying “It made me feel like superman.”
Of his comments during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005 that George Bush “doesn’t like black people”, Kanye also said that at the time of the Katrina statement he was “affected by a victimized mentality” and that black people “get caught up in the idea of racism.”
Fast forward to 2020 and Kanye West has suddenly turned his life over to God and is on a very successful pulpit album promotion tour for “Jesus Is King” that started in 2019.
Who’s talking about his recent support for Donald Trump? Who’s talking about the fact that Kanye said racism is an “idea”, a hurtful and dismissive statement that often comes from white people?
So Kanye gets to go on a pseudo God tour while Chrisette Michele has lost her life’s work? Blasphemy.
Go find a picture of Chrisette wearing a MAGA hat.
A big part of me knows why this has happened and it’s quite disappointing to repeat, but here goes.
People don’t give a shit about black women.
There are the missing black girls across the country that don’t get the media coverage missing white girls get.
There are the black women whose lives were destroyed by R. Kelly. According to his rabid fans, the women either “asked for it”, R. Kelly didn’t do it, or he did it but it doesn’t matter because he is a “musical genius”. I can imagine if any of the girls R. Kelly abused had been white, he would have been prosecuted AND jailed the first time he was put on trial.
Recently, Terry Cloth Crews (yes, I know what I typed) on the slick tried to discredit Gabrielle Union’s experience at America’s Got Talent. Terry Cloth said the following:
“…I can speak on behalf of any racism comments. That was never my experience,” he said. “In fact, it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment.”
“When you look at what the allegations were about, it was given by an unnamed source. My thing is — it’s funny because I believe you should listen to women, you should always believe women, so I asked my wife what I should do. She was like, ‘First of all, if it’s coming from an unnamed source — because Gabrielle Union has not made any statement about any of these allegations publicly — … If she hasn’t made a statement, why would you?’ ”
Terry Cloth here chose not to back Gabrielle AND chose not to listen to his wife who CLEARLY said if Gabrielle hadn’t made a statement he shouldn’t make one.
Now I’m no genius, but that to me sounds like she was telling him to shut the hell up.
Terry Cloth has since tweeted an apology, but really, the fact that he wasn’t willing to show Gabrielle the support she gave him when he went public about his sexual harassment speaks much more loudly than an apology that was probably more a result of bad press than sincerity.
Kanye is human and of course we all make mistakes, particularly when we’re hurt and refuse to deal with our pain. He is troubled, still reeling from the loss of his mother.
Yet the way Kanye has been allowed to act out in ways like supporting Donald Trump with virtually no consequence while Chrisette’s career flat lined over what people thought was support for Trump is disgusting, and this allowing of black women to fall does not happen in a vacuum.
It has been the role of black women in the Women’s Rights movement being diminished even though seen and unseen, black women worked just as hard if not harder than white women in the overall effort. It’s been black women and their leadership in the civil rights movement not being brought to the forefront.
It’s black men that look at black women and say “That didn’t happen” when black women share their truth, be it about rape, racism, colorism, or ageism.
Also, and this is the kicker, it’s fickle black fans that allow male rappers to get away with hell, but push black female artists into oblivion when they make one misstep. Kanye has the advantage of being a crossover artist with black and white fans, but I can say with certainty that the majority of Chrisette’s fans were black, and I don’t doubt that some of her fans are also fans of Kanye.
Black fans have let Kanye live his best life after he openly supported a racist while Chrisette fell off a cliff for bad optics. It’s mortifying and speaks to an annoying notion that black people are willing to support black men more often than black women, even when the black men are clearly wrong.
The irony here is that black women do not flinch in their support of anyone. It’s almost second nature for black women to go into action, not because they have to, but because they want to help.
Yet people act like supporting black women is the equivalent of being asked to to walk to Mars.
I was raised by two black women. I know their power, strength, willingness to provide, and the lengths they will go to in making that provision. There is no way I can pay that back in totality, but the least I can so is honor the selflessness they showed in my words and my deeds.
The moral of the story? The cradle of civilization is in Africa, which means that all of us are the product of a black woman (racist, sorry not sorry). We need to stop acting as if black women are expendable when they are in fact the reason ALL of us are here.
Your mother deserves the appreciation…