Donald Trump has long been scrambling to lock in performers for his fast-approaching Inauguration Day. After receiving a string of publicized rejections, he's managed to land the likes of Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down, and now he's added another name to the docket: Chrisette Michele, an R&B singer best known for her 2009 song "Epiphany." After news broke on Wednesday night that she was confirmed to take the stage, speculation soon began to brew about whether or not Chrisette Michele is a Trump supporter.
Online, she seems to play it pretty neutral when it comes to politics, though she has spoken out about issues close to her heart. When Terence Crutcher was fatally shot by a police officer in September, Michele took to Instagram to advocate for Black Lives Matter. "A father, a singer in his church, un-armed, looking for help by his broken down car. Black Lives Matter... No argument," she wrote. "It's been too much and this is too much. | Lift each other up right now. Lift each other up right now. They're already tearing us down."
On Thursday, when defending her controversial decision to perform in an open letter, she also cited legendary civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. "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," she wrote.
Throughout the letter, she expresses grief over the state America is in, writing that she cries "at the thought that black history, American history, might be in vain." But rather than stew in silence, Michele's answer seems to be that she needs to make her voice, and others' voices, heard. For her, that means singing at Trump's inauguration. "Today, I hope that Great Moments begin in peaceful & progressive conversation. I am willing to be a bridge," she says. "I don’t mind ‘These Stones’, if they allow me to be a voice for the voiceless. I am here."
While Michele doesn't explicitly reveal her political affiliations, it appears she's not totally on board with Trump, or at least with some of what he represents. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement have been strong detractors for the Republican, and he himself has a history in making racist statements. This is, of course, purely speculation, but it seems the singer is viewing her appearance as a chance to bridge the gap between Trump's supporters and his critics. Whether or not the choice will be effective remains to be seen, but it's clear Michele is doing what she thinks is best.