It was a cool summer day in the middle of August, 2014. I was in a Harlem restaurant when I spotted a petite lady with long twists down her back. Her tattooed arm caught my attention, but as I slowly looked up to her face, I was surprised to see it was famed R&B singer, Chrisette Michele. Shocked, I went back and forth on whether I should say something to her. “She’s a celebrity,” I thought. “The last thing she needs is to be bothered while she eats.” Still, this was Chrisette Michele we’re talking about. Her Epiphany album taught me a thing or three about love and how to recognize your worth. In a split second’s decision, I walked over to Chrisette and praised her on all of her music, specifically Epiphany. In a soft, gentle tone she thanked me. I couldn’t believe that mighty, powerful voice came from this pint-sized, petite woman with the the meek speaking voice.
Fast forward to November of 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic. Both Chrisette and I logged onto a Zoom call to conduct an interview. There she was. The same humble, soothing presence that could calm any storm. She sat powerfully, casually dressed, and ready to get started.
Chrisette just launched her denim collection with Shop Pretty Pieces. Within days, all items were sold out. No surprise there. Chrisette has always had great style.
“I did a nice fun collaboration with some friends of mine over at shop pretty pieces and its been really fun to see all the ladies – even some of my friends in the industry – gravitate towards it and pick up some pieces. We sold out and we’re going to relaunch. I have a new birthday collection coming in December so I’m really excited about that. There will be lots of holiday items, very sequiny and fun colors; black, gold and red.”
Collaborating with a Black-owned business like Shop Pretty Pieces is something Chrisette loves to do. Lot’s of what she does is rooted in the idea of empowerment. In fact, she’s made it a personal mission of hers to use her platform in a way that uplifts women so that they feel seen and heard.
“Women’s empowerment in general is super important. I kind of learned that from being over at Def Jam with Jay Z and LA Reid. All the folks over there were very dead set on empowering the community. Whether it was Jay-Z building the Barclay Center or me getting involved with Save the Music with VH1, the label was always talking about serving your community at the same time as creating art. So I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for community and by community, I mean people talking to each other,” she explained. “I love to create spaces where people can talk, where people feel safe speaking, and where people feel heard.”
Chrisette created a safe space for women everywhere when she developed The Sistership. The organization brings women from different walks of life together, in the name of community.
“Come hangout with us at TheSistership.org! it’s been a wonderful time with some beautiful women who have been supporting each other, loving on each other, lifting each other up and talking every Wednesday night at 7:30pm. That’s been my favorite thing in the whole world – is to get together with beautiful women who have no other intention but to list their sisters and talk about the good stuff, like (giving) grace.”
With all of these wonderful projects going on, Chrisette still has time for her first love, music. Her new song Wait, details the importance of being still and in the moment.
“I wrote it about a year and a half ago and it’s about giving yourself the permission not to rush. We live in a world where we always want to know the outcome. We always want to know what somebody’s gonna say, what somebody’s gonna do, how somebody’s gonna feel, how somebody’s gonna act, how somebody’s gonna respond, and the same way we want to know that from people, we want to know that from God, and so we never give ourselves a chance at stillness. I’m a huge fan of waiting.”
So what’s next for Chrisette Michele?
“A lot of self-love, a lot of self-care, a lot of learning myself. A lot of being comfortable in my own skin. A lot of liking myself. I think that if we can like ourselves we don’t have to force anyone else to like us. Those are my next steps, it’s just a simple presentation of who I am that will come out in the form of podcasts, blogging, more music eventually – but then again, I’m just not in a rush. I’m really excited to be present in the moment.”
Chrisette has a lot on her plate. She’s successfully developed a brand that full represents who she is as a person and artist. She uses her social media platform as a way to connect to her fans; She’s putting out amazing, soulful music that is thought-provoking; She’s built an online community that empowers women; and now she has a sold out denim collection, with a new one on the way. With so many on-going projects, Chrisette says she practices grace when her plate overflows.
“If I can’t finish it, I can’t finish it. God’s wisdom finishes whatever He wants to finish, not my wisdom. I keep remembering that God’s got it figured out if I don’t. In those moments where my physical body is too tired to continue, I know that I’m not God. It’s a quick perception switch. Wait a minute, I’m not God, of course I can’t go until tomorrow nonstop without water, without sleep, without food. And those are the things we ask ourselves to do in a fast-paced world, is to go without. Go without fuel, go without oil and we expect our car to still run.”
Chrisette Michele’s approach to life is the vibe I want to emulate. Living in the moment, loving on myself, being a sister to my sisters, all while giving myself grace, is the ultimate self-care formula!