“Freedom isn’t given it is taken. Freedom isn’t free it is earned.” — Musician Chrisette Michele, Let Freedom Reign

July-August 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Inkandescent Women magazine — I love the month of July. Not only is it my birthday (July 8), the day I give thanks for every blessing I’ve ever received, but it is the month where we celebrate our freedom.

As the publisher of Inkandescent Women magazine and creator of the Truly Amazing Women project, I am on a mission to create a revolution: All women, everywhere, stand together and support each other in life, love, and the pursuit of everything that makes us happy, healthy, and in our power.

So it’s a pleasure to honor 8 women in the July-August 2021 issue who are standing up for what they believe in, making a powerful difference in the lives of many.

Case in point: Chrisette Michele, who released her debut album in 2007, I Am. In 2010, she released Let Freedom Reign, which debuted at number 25 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 42,000 copies in its first week. Then, Chrisette Michele was invited to sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration, and she agreed. Despite the buzz and negativity swirling surrounding her decision due to his divisive rhetoric and policies, she thought it would blow over. While many performances and entertainers refused to perform or appear but she told The Washington Post she thought she could “be a bridge” to uniting the country that was still reeling following Trump’s election. It did not.

The Black community, which is most of her fan base, was horrified that she would choose to celebrate someone who had been so hateful and racist. As a result, her career was completely derailed. She received horrifying death threats, miscarried, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, lost a record deal, and radio stations refused to play her music. And Spike Lee scraped her song “Black Girl Magic” from his Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It.

Chrisette understood. “They didn’t feel represented at that moment. They felt misrepresented. They felt further misunderstood, and they felt the person they were depending on to speak on their behalf just betrayed them.”

We understand how her disappointed fans felt. We also understand and support Chrisette’s desire to be a bridge. In support of the woman who is determined to celebrate freedom for all, we are happy to report that Chrisette is getting back to singing. “While I felt like people took so much away from me in those two years, I’m more grateful for finally having time to look at the last 12 years,” she said in 2019. “And I think that is the bright side… I want people to know that it’s OK to expect more from me.”

Scroll down for the lyrics of her hit song Let Freedom Reign.

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Let Freedom Reign, by Chrisette Michele

Oh American citizen, come collect your freedom

No matter what your living in

No more giving in

Oh American citizen, come collect your freedom

No matter what you’re living in

It’s time to win

Keep us in the four walls of our childrens will be quiet

Most of us ain’t even democratic or Republic

Can, and by coincidence we love

The elected until the detected of being human

American falls, minorities lose war

But if we unite we would have won the war

On poverty

On drugs

On medicated

On love

Freedom isn’t given it is taken

Freedom isn’t free it’s earned

Not, no, it’s learned

Been hung and burned,

Yet rest in peace, resurrected plea

This ain’t black or white, it’s gray

This is not about my face

Most of us don’t know what to say

Right from wrong, I’m free from slaves


Watch the magic here: