Screengrab via ChrisetteMicheleVEVO/YouTube

R&B singer Chrisette Michele defends her inauguration performance

We can't be present if we're silent, she wrote.


Samantha Grasso


Published Jan 19, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 4:30 am CDT

Chrisette Michele is not backing down.

Responding to backlash to her announcement that she’ll be joining Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down to perform at President-elect Donald Trump‘s inauguration, Michele published an open letter on Twitter early Thursday morning. She also shared the statement on her website.

In her letter, the 2009 Grammy Award winner wrote that her heart is broken for the country and that she is performing at the inauguration in order to represent the black community.

“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. I am here, representing you, because this is what matters.”

Michele also quoted Martin Luther King Jr with the line, “Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about what matters.”

Though Michele’s performance was announced on Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that arrangements had been finalized a week prior, with the R&B singer keeping the performance secret to avoid prolonged criticism.

Despite her intentions, fans responded negatively to Michele’s explanation—and her design choices, too.

Find out how to watch Michele’s performance and learn more about Friday’s ceremonies with our guide to Trump’s inauguration.

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2017, 3:57 am CST