This Week in Black Twitter: Chrisette Michele's inauguration backlash; celebrating King's legacy

"I am here, representing you, because this is what matters," singer Chrisette Michele wrote in an open letter.

Welcome back to This Week in Black Twitter, your weekly digest of the happenings on Black Twitter and the cultural conversations on the web. Topics span the gamut — pop culture, politics, sports, lifestyles and everything in between.

This week: R&B singer Chrisette Michele addresses inauguration gig, users celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and Jerry Rice raises eyebrows in Popeyes commercial.

1. News broke Wednesday that R&B singer Chrisette Michele would perform at Donald Trump's inauguration celebration. 

Michele reportedly wanted to keep the news under wraps out of fear of criticism. And since then, the Grammy-winning artist has received backlash, with director Spike Lee deciding to no longer use her "Black Girl Magic" song in his Netflix project, according to Variety.

On Thursday, Michele posted an open letter addressing the criticism she's received.

"This country has had great moments. God has shined His light upon us," she wrote. "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."

She then goes on to quote Martin Luther King Jr., saying, "Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about what matters."

"I am here, representing you, because this is what matters," Michele wrote.

 

2. In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, users took to Twitter to post quotes, pictures and general thoughts about the civil rights leader.

But some have argued that King's legacy has gotten lost. In an op-ed for The New York Times, University of New Hampshire associate professor Jason Sokol notes that the King "we remember today is particularly at odds with his radical turn in his last years."

"Many white Americans focused on one line of King’s 'I Have a Dream' speech — that he longed for the day when his children would 'not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character' — and molded him into a gentle champion of colorblindness," Sokol wrote.

Online, people celebrated King not just for his "I Have a Dream" speech, but for his radical nature.

Speaking of Donald Trump.

 

3. Former NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice raised eyebrows over his Popeyes commercial, in which he dons a "Taste Mask" helmet with fried chicken attached. You can view the video here.

The commercial wasn't the Hall of Famer's best moment.

"While there isn’t anything wrong with loving fried chicken, the image of a grinning black man wearing a helmet with a spinning drumstick plays too much on the 'black people love chicken' stereotype," Delenda Joseph wrote for Uproxx.

Rice got himself into trouble last year after tweeting "All lives matter" in response to Colin Kaepernick's anthem protests, users noted.


mpryce@baltsun.com

twitter.com/megpryce

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