Chrisette Michele is a Grammy Award-winning R&B recording artist most known for her wedding anthem, “A Couple of Forevers” and her hit with Rick Ross, “Aston Martin Music.” Michele has made a groove in the music industry that spans from 2007 to the present. She’s worked with the likes of John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild, Jay Z, Kierra Sheard, T.D. Jakes, and Tyler Perry. She’s also toured with Maxwell, Solange, India.Arie, and Marsha Ambrosius.
Her philanthropic efforts include work with UNICEF, Girls Inc., VH1’s Save the Music, Amnesty International USA, and many local charity organizations from Las Vegas to Atlanta.
Michele has supported the Obamas at the White House from Obama’s run at the DNC to his leaving office at the last dinner. He has mentioned her as one of his top favorite R&B singers and has chosen her to sing before he speaks on multiple occasions.
Michele has flown to Iraq, Kuwait and many other regions to support and uplift the American troops. She has a heart for encouraging the broken, the hard-working and those in great service positions.
With a passion for cultivating safe-space community and cross-cultural understanding, she has found her footing in the speaking space and hit the ground running in recent years. She’s had the opportunity to speak into the lives of students at Harvard, Spelman, Temple, Howard and so many more.
In 2020, Michele created the Inner Peace Academy, a space where men and women can gather to explore purpose, and hear positive uplifting messages through her Academy podcast “Peace & Pages.” Her “Peace Makers Tribe” garners wisdom and insight from her journey as a public figure who has experienced the glory and the pain of celebrity. If you are looking for a story of someone who understands how to find inner peace and an outer glow after adversity, look no further than the encouraging writer, singer, speaker and sister-friend, Chrisette Michele.
BLACK ENTERPRISE: Please tell us about your Inner Peace Academy and what inspired you to create it?
Michele: I’d been coaching entrepreneurs for years through “Rich Hipster University” and I began to notice a shift in entrepreneurs who wanted to make money, to entrepreneurs who wanted to make money on purpose.
I was beginning to see a shift in the business owners I’d coached who built foundations that gave them financial security. They wanted more than financial success, they wanted to make an impact in the world and they wanted to walk through finding their purpose without feeling judged for their success.
The Inner Peace Academy is for those who aren’t afraid of the hard work it takes to create peace on the inside and then navigate how to bring that peace into the life they live and the world they serve.
It’s an honor to sit with people, teams, artists and entrepreneurs and help them navigate inner and exterior success with the satisfaction of knowing what they do is truly meaningful.
BE: How does your new podcast, “Peace & Pages” coincide with the Inner Peace Academy?
Michele: I’m an artist first. A major part of my artistry comes from writing. Whether books, music, poetry, essays or talks, I’m always writing. I decided to take the most vulnerable parts of my writings and say them aloud as spoken word in podcast form.
My intention is to be the permission to creatives and entrepreneurs that says, you can be ridiculously flawed, have ugly experiences, make terrible mistakes and keep pressing. I want people to know that inner peace is available even in the moments where the world tells you peace is not available.
Business is for the mature. Entrepreneurs are made to feel they have to have it all together all the time. My podcasts eclectic mix of poetry, meditative tranquil tracks and essays about the ups and downs of life in the public eye are a beautiful backdrop to the winding-down evening of a hard-working entrepreneur, dreamer, and purpose-driven business owner. You’ll feel heard. You’ll feel seen and you’ll feel understood. The podcast and the academy are both intended to empower the perspective as it moves from what feels like a rat race to what can be a purpose-driven life of inner and outer alignment.
BE: Any advice on the first step someone should take to realign with their purpose?
Michele: Sure, get honest about what isn’t your purpose. Feel. As difficult as that may be. I didn’t feel for about a decade. I was broken, rich and disenfranchised. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy reintroduced me to my thoughts. As I began to lay my thoughts out on the carpet in front of me, my therapist helped me look at them in a safe space. I admitted what felt good and what didn’t. I cried for the first time in many years.
Get brave enough to examine everything around you and choose what is and isn’t a part of your purpose. What doesn’t feel good? What doesn’t resonate? You’ll have to get brave enough to feel and respond to your feelings.
It’s difficult and it takes time. I love to walk individuals through that process. We often need a friend or a coach to be by our side as we navigate that truth. The hardest part is often, trusting ourselves. We’ve been around ourselves for such a long time. We’ve created a life that we see every day. It can be jarring to decide that some of it doesn’t feel good, but our spirit knows. We’ll have to be brave enough to feel and as business owners, we’ve often been trained not to feel.
Feeling my way to purpose asked me to feel my thoughts, acknowledge and accept their effect about a decade. I was broken, rich and disenfranchised. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy reintroduced me to my thoughts. As I began to lay my thoughts out on the carpet in front of me, my therapist helped me look at them in a safe space. I admitted what felt good and what didn’t. I cried for the first time in many years.
I feel a little guilty when I walk people through feeling their way back to purpose, but it’s liberating and it rebuilds the purpose-driven entrepreneurs foundation.
BE: What’s next for you in 2021?
Michele: Moody by Chrisette Michele. This fall I’ll launch an online shop for those of us who need support with managing our moods. To function as a full-time business owner and creative can be a difficult task at times. I am a firm believer that peace can be created. I want to provide the tools to help people do so, no matter how busy life asks them to be.
The Moody Shop is connected to my InnerPeace.Academy website. I think it will show a lot of us how available “making peace” really is. It’s my dream to put creating peace at people’s fingertips.
You can learn more about the Inner Peace Academy by visiting my website InnerPeace.Academy. Clients ask me all the time, “Are you gonna keep doing this when you go on tour?” The pandemic allowed me to meet so many beautiful faces and support so many purpose-driven entrepreneurs, I’ve decided to keep a team on staff specifically to keep doing this no matter where the road takes me, as long as God says so.