Frisky Q&A: Chrisette Michele Says Red Lipstick Gives Her Freedom

In anticipation of the release of her third LP, Let Freedom Reign (out today, Nov. 30), Island Def Jam recording artist Chrisette Michele let a bunch of bloggers pick her brain last night at an event hosted by the Carol’s Daughter store in Harlem. We all know she’s an extremely talented singer and musician (you know, one who actually has a voice and isn’t about gyrating for attention), so what I really wanted to know were Chrisette’s style and beauty preferences. Find out how she gets the power to voice her thoughts and why the reaction to her natural hair was annoying, after the jump. How do you think your new album, Let Freedom Reign, influences your style and beauty choices?

Oh, it makes me feel free. When you talk about freedom, you talk about doing things without wondering what other people think. So that’s kind of the space I’m in right now. I don’t care what anybody thinks.

And speaking of that, last year you went back to being natural. Do you think that put you in a certain category musically, or did people see you a certain way? How do you think that decision affected you?

The main thing that I hated about going natural is that I became African-American all of a sudden, as if I wasn’t African-American before I cut my hair. So I wasn’t black before. Before it feels like maybe I was the token black. And now I’m just the black-black. And that’s disappointing because does that mean we cancel out our sisters with straight hair? Does that mean we cancel out all of our sisters who use flat irons? I think that’s ridiculous, so my reason for being so comfortable with going natural was the fact that my style didn’t change because my hair changed — my hair changed because I felt like changing my hair! It’s simple.

I think I know how you might answer this [Chrisette was rocking a fierce red lip last night], but bold lip or bold eye?

Ah that’s so difficult, ’cause I already have the hugest eyes! So a bold lip is fun for me.

So do you prefer reds or pinks or do you go into oranges?

I haven’t told many people this, but when I’m the most afraid I wear red. When I’m afraid to do something I wear red. So the secret behind me wearing a red lip is I’m about to say a lot of stuff that I might have been afraid to say before. So it’s not just a fashion statement, but it’s also a freedom statement.

What item in your closet can you not live without? Like, you would not be complete without that one item?

I have more black leather jackets than Intermix [a clothing store] in my closet. I cannot live without that black leather jacket.

If you could go back to any era style-wise or beauty-wise, where do you think it would be?

I’d go back to the Renaissance with those big poufy gowns with the long sleeves, where you stood up straight and had to wear harnesses. I think that’s so cool!

You’ve been with stylist June Ambrose for a little while. How do you think she’s influenced your look?

You know, the funny thing with me and June is that June has been what Jay-Z might be to J. Cole. She’s been my co-sign. So whenever I said, “June this is what I want to do,” I’ve kind of been able to hide behind her. And her go out and say [imitates June Ambrose’s deep, husky voice], “No, this is cool. This is cool. Chrisette is current and doing it now!” She’s been my support system because I’ve always had these crazy ideas. She’s the first person to make me feel like it was OK to do them.