‘R&B Diva’ Chrisette Michele is Creating Her Own Lane

Soul Singer-Writer Chrisette Michele is known as a Grammy award-winning artist with four albums, but this doesn’t define her.

Yes, she’s been featured on several hit songs with mega stars including Jay Z, Mary J Blidge, and Nas to name few. And yes, she also wrote a song for Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

But much more interesting is the fact that she’s a fierce defender of promoting positive interactions among women–leaving the TV One hit reality show R&B Divas, due to, she says, the constant bickering and negativity between women on the show. She’s committed to giving ordinary people a chance at doing extraordinary things–recently launching the Pose and Post Symposium, a non-judgmental environment where women can come together and connect with influencers, bloggers and brands in their communities. And she’s incredibly smart about owning the rights to her own work–recently staring her own record label, Rich Hipster.

But behind billboard-topping hits like “Epiphany” and “If I Have My Way” is a rebel with a cause who proves anyone can build a career off of marching to the beat of their own drum. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the self-proclaimed “flower child” to have a candid discussion about her journey in the music industry.

After nine years in the industry, what is your biggest lesson learned?

It changes so often. My very first lesson was learning to say no but that was six or seven years ago. Now, it’s to take chances. You don’t know what’s next if you don’t take the chance to be next. A lot of times, especially as women, we are so afraid to put ourselves out there and do what doesn’t look like what everybody else is doing.
Even something as simple as the Pose and Post Symposium; “I’m Chrisette Michele, I’m supposed to be on stage singing “A Couple of Forever’s” in front of 3,000 people. I’ m not supposed to be in a small art gallery with 90 people teaching people how to take selfies or talking about You Tube and social media.” But I feel like that’s next. I don’t know where it’s going to go or how it’s going to end but I feel like that’s next.

In light of your recent departure from ‘R&B Divas,’ do you take ownership for the positive portrayals of black women in media?

I do take a lot of responsibility and ownership for the positive portrayals of women in media; it’s a big deal to me.

I didn’t want to leave the show. I didn’t want to leave Michel’le or Chanté Moore by themselves. I wanted to be there to fight for them and be their sister. But the real reason I left the show was because I couldn’t let Chrisette Michele be seen with women who could tear each other down consciously. And that’s what I felt like was happening. I don’t know whose fault it was, that the women on the show were placed in situations that was beneath them or out of their comfort zone. And maybe it caused them to react in a certain way. But I didn’t want my brand associated with this behavior.

For my fans that have been supporting positivity for the last nine years, I couldn’t allow them to feel like what they brought into was being ruined on TV.

Read more about Chrisette Michele’s journey to learn the money side of the industry on the next page …