Based in New York, the Rich Hipster blog is written by Chrisette Michele. Her essays, poetry and lyrics think thru the modern ideas of black entrepreneurship, responsible creativity, and what it means to mindfully serve black and brown female community from a full cup. 

A Black Woman's Creativity and the Healthy Lessons of Rejection - by Chrisette Michele

Or  "Rejection and the Ramifications of Creativity"

There is a magnitude of responsibility that comes with being a creative. They don't tell you that in heaven at the gift shop before you come to Earth. 

I thought I hated music. I did. I was over it. I thought people didn’t care about it anymore. I was lost and broken after so much public rejection. I couldn’t imagine anyone would want to hear my lyrics, voice or melody. I was so upset with myself for continuously creating. I thought, if I was so upset with music, it would leave me alone. But it didn’t, it just kept coming to me. 

I’ve since written maybe 2 albums and created the beginnings of a third.  One might be called Gospel, another Straight Ahead Jazz and the last, Alternative Soul. I've released one. It's called, "Out of Control".  

Anyways, I never realized my fear of rejection until recently. I’ve always avoided rejection by simply doing widely acceptable things. Wearing dresses. Smiling. Speaking clearly. Having manners. Using one space for parking and singing R&B. While I’m comfortable with most of those things, some of them exhaust and bore me. I won’t say which ones. 

I’ve always wanted to release a Gospel album. I never really knew for sure how I’d handle the rejection of the Black Christian community.  I don’t know if my gospel would be “gospelly” or if my “saved-ness” would be “saved-like”. There are so many spaces for rejection in Gospel. R&B is safe. Just SANG and wear some make-up. 

We live in a world now, where nothing is really safe and you’re kind of forced to tell the truth. You can’t hide behind pretty. There’s a beauty guru out there who will call you out for wearing foundation that harms animals. You can’t hide behind nice lyrics. Someone will investigate your life to see if what you’re singing about is true and blast it on instagram (lower case “i”) and win an interview on Wendy Williams. 

I recently shaved my head again.  I think maybe, it’s okay to be naked in this new world. The gag is, if you’re gonna be naked, be fully nude. Don’t show a little and hide the rest. If you ‘re bald and ain’t got no edges, then talk about alopecia awareness. If you clap back on IG and have sensitivity issues, be just as vulnerable about your visits to the therapist and how that’s helping you become a better person. 

I was listening to an old “Black Girl In Om” podcast and they were talking about a few of their favorite albums. I was bathing in salt and lavender and the music they spoke of began to play. They talked about dissecting the music with so much vigor. They seemed to have so much joy around music's fulfillment. I was moved. Joy is contagious. They wanted to understand the artists thru their music. They were honest about what they felt they could see thru the lyrics, what it taught them about the artists growth and even their own. It was a vulnerable moment in the podcast. Lots of “Ugh!” and “Yaaaas Girl!”. It let me know that people still love music. They still appreciate it.

The people who come to my shows aren’t there to judge me. I was afraid of that for a long time. I am still loved, by those who are called to create a safespace for me. They just want the real me. They know I’m human. They know I’ll grow. They know I’ll change. I’ve gotta choose humility and vulnerability. That’s the way of this new age. It wasn’t that way when I began. There used to be privacy. Privacy was your grace to recover. It's still available, but no one minds if you don't use it.

People want to see growth. They want to see change. I’ve been dying to share my love for yoga, for mindfulness, for femininity, but that comes with so much un-packing. So little room for introversion. You can’t say yoga without saying community. You can’t say ahimsa with out loving the girl in the apartment next door. The things I want to share require so much of “the rest of me”. 

I’m going to go for it though. When I talk about fashion, it comes with talking about curves. When I talk about singing, it comes with talking about the objectification of the black female image. When I talk about being a gospel artist, it comes with un-packing the mistakes I’ve made and the forgiveness I’ve experienced and why I needed the forgiving in the first place. The list goes on. Being creative requires the truth. These days it's called "authenticity". People are "creating" authenticity but if you're brave enough to live your life in a creative space, you have no choice but to be authentic. Creativity comes from what you already are. You can debate me on that. I don't mind.

Many people think they want to be gifted or have more gifts. I’ve learned what it looks like to be creative and irresponsible, what it means to be creative and responsible and what it means to be healed by my own creations in the public eye. When you’re a writer, that comes with people taking 5 or 6 words you say and creating a headline with it. That comes with the territory and even with this post. It’s time for me to be aware of that and as well as the impact my gifts have on the world.

It would be an actual sin for me to bury my talent and not share it for fear of rejection and the magnitude of responsibility that sharing my gifts comes with. It’s very human of me to have trepidation about where my gifts will land and how my intentions will be interpreted.

There is responsibility that comes with creativity but the fear of rejection shouldn't hold me hostage. I've intentionally used the word "I" instead of "You". I find many posts to be preachy, authors telling people how to live lessons they've just learned. I won't let my fear of rejection get in the way of my offering, but I will be intentional. Life will come with lessons no matter who we are and we all live and grow. Radical self-acceptance to me is experiencing the feelings that come with failure, healing and then growing and changing from the lesson. Most of us stop at the hurt and that becomes enough for us never to try again. If I must preach, I'd simply say, "Try again sis. God's got you. I've fallen in front of millions and recovered by the grace of God's secret place, much prayer and much evaluation. You can too."

The journey of living is in this poem I've written:

A Being of Cycle and Time

So far I've found out

I live and I learn

I learn and I grow

I grow and I change

I change and I live

This is the cycle, and...

I can’t be scare to learn, I'll put myself out there

I can’t be scared to grow, I'll take it in stride

I can’t be scared to change, humility is key

I can’t be afraid of the cycle, I'll get better, stronger and more beautiful with time

Namaste, 

Chris

Am I Plastic?  An Experiment with Moses Sumney, Sampha and Paint