I’ll tell you, in recent weeks it’s been getting harder to come up with an Afrobella of the Week.

While there are still some obvious choices coming up in the not-too-distant future, so many women I could have sworn would be all-natural forever have switched it up and gone all weavey or straight on me. Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry, even Erykah Badu have strayed from their natural styles. I’m looking for suggestions, y’all. In general the Afrobella of the Week should be a woman who proudly wears her natural hairstyle and doesn’t undergo any chemical hair processes. But this week, I honestly don’t know. I’m just gonna go for it and hope for the best.
Bellas, I present to you Chrisette Michele, an afrobella in the midst of a hairstyle transition.

I’ve had my eye on her since I first heard Lost Ones from a early bootleg download.

Her voice caught my attention first — how could it not? She’s got such a distinctive sound, so jazzy and retro but simulataneously fresh. And when I visited her website to investigate this warbling diva-to-be, I was thrilled to discover a gorgeous natural afrobella smiling back at me.
Chrisette Michele positively glows. Click here to watch her sing live at the NationWide Unsigned Hype show. Oh, I wish I could embed that video so, so much. She sounds great, and I am feeling the lyrics of that song. But unfortunately it’s only available on her website, so do yourselves a favor; click and listen.
The song feels like gospel music washing over your soul. Which makes sense, because Chrisette is apparently a spiritual kind of chick.

I was all set to name her Afrobella of the Week, then I saw the Nas video for Can’t Forget About You. The song is an instant classic, if you ask me. Her voice is as unforgettable as the sample. But at first, I wasn’t even sure it was the same person! Her style was straight, dark, and Forties chic. For a brief minute I had to wonder — are we having a Martha Wash moment on our hands? But the eyes told me otherwise. Then I saw the on the set photos on Concrete Loop and my suspicions were confirmed. Apparently Chrisette is apparently in the midst of a natural hair transition, and she’s definitely gotten the uber glam Hollywood makeover. Her makeup is flawless. Both her and Jill Scott wear that retro sexy look incredibly well.

Natural hair or no, Chrisette can sing. And she looks so fly and sounds so fresh performing live here on Letterman, I can’t even diss her hustle. She’s gorgeous and I have the feeling that she’s going places big time. Duetting with Jay-Z and Nas on big hits is just the beginning for her.

Truthfully, I think it’s probably pretty difficult to start out in the game with a natural hairstyle. I sincerely hope she someday returns to her roots, so to speak… but I’m already a fan.

Here she is being introduced to the Def Jam executives by none other than Mr. L.A Reid. She’s utterly amazing.

Congrats, Chrisette! You’re Afrobella of the Week!


Neosoulbeauty says:
February 26, 2007, 1:14 pm
Her voice is beautiful! She needs to be given the credibility she deserves.
Nana says:
February 26, 2007, 1:38 pm
Ooooooh, chills! Chills are what I got when I first heard Chrisette Michels's vocal prowess. Thank you, Afrobella for introducing me to this beautiful and soon-to-be phenomenon. Any idea when a CD will drop or is there one out alrady? Thanks, and keep up the excellent work.
lalita says:
February 26, 2007, 1:40 pm
Yeah I really loved her voice when I heard it on Jay-z song "Lost one" I actually think the part were she singing is the best piece of that song .I hope we will see and her a lot more about her .
Niki says:
February 26, 2007, 1:42 pm
Thanks Bella for putting me on tomore new music! As a fellow music lover, I am always excited to learn about new artisits who are doing their thing in a very real way.. keep it comin', love!
thope says:
February 26, 2007, 2:35 pm
I too had to do a double take when I saw her in the Nas video! I had been to her MySpace page once I heard her on the hook of Jay-Z's song and had to know who she was. I thought she was so cute with her natural and couldn't believe when I saw her with straight hair in the Nas video. She is really amazing and love her with natural or straight hair, I just hope it was her choice and not something she was forced to do for the music industry.
Dani says:
February 26, 2007, 4:58 pm
Might I suggest Amel Larrieux as an Afrobella of the Week? She's as natural as they come, she releases her music on her independent label Blisslife, she posts blogs on her website and she's an amazing singer. Morning, her latest album is as great as her first solo release Infinite Possibilities. Good looking out on Chrisette Michelle. She's got such a beautiful, and most importantly, memorable voice and look. Even with the wavy/weavey 'do, she stands out from pretty much everyone else in mainstream R&B.
afrobella says:
February 26, 2007, 5:39 pm
Hey Dani! Amel is among that list of choices that are coming up... her, Macy Gray, Goapele, Rachelle Ferrell... I'm working on them. But the undiscovered afrobellas always intrigue me the most. Good call!
Tina says:
February 26, 2007, 9:46 pm
I am really diggin this chic!! I want the song Golden, I am really trying to find it and download. i love her voice. i think her hair fits her any way she rocks it. She looked wonderful in the Nas video. Also dare I suggest me for the undiscovered bella, because I am on the rise and kickin it au naturel 10 years and then some.
Ms. New Beauty says:
February 26, 2007, 10:07 pm
I love Chrisette Michelle's voice! It's so soothing, like she just relaxes me when she sings. And, I know that your focus is on natural hair, but one of the beauties of black hair is variety of it. What's natural on one woman may be a huge fro, another woman's natural hair may soft and straight. What about women who are proudly who they are regardless of what style they're currently wearing?
bella says:
February 27, 2007, 12:09 am
Ms. New Beauty, I feel where you're coming from. But this is called afrobella for a reason, and I strive to celebrate the kind of natural beauty that I don't see regularly represented in the media. I know natural hair comes in all textures, but by and large natural afro-textured hair is springy and coily and curly. I think Chrisette is hot either way, but I identified with her much more when I saw a proud beauty with hair that looked like my own rather than Catherine Zeta Jones's.
Dj says:
February 27, 2007, 1:57 am
May I recommend Meshell Ndegeocello for afrobella of the week?! She is awesome!!
Dj says:
February 27, 2007, 2:09 am
ooooh or you can do Rebecca Walker, Alice Walker's daughter. she is one of my heroes and a big inspiration for women all over the world.
jerseybred says:
February 27, 2007, 10:31 am
Chrisette's voice is amazing. Could she be the young woman who started a bidding war between the major record labels awhile back?
cassandra says:
February 27, 2007, 11:44 am
Love Chrisette's voice -- I saw her on Letterman and cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was not to be able to find a CD of her own work. Second the nomination of Meshell Ndegeocello -- she is a singular artist whose work never fails to move me. Also nominating Gigi -- she is an Ethiopian Bella working more in the World Music category with Bill Laswell as her produced and killer musicians from the jazz, R&B, rock scenes supporting her. Fabulous voice.
carla says:
February 27, 2007, 4:04 pm
Other fabulous natural Afrobellas: Lizz Wright Cassandra Wilson Toni Morrison Suzan-Lori Parks Tracy Chapman Alice Walker
Regina says:
February 27, 2007, 4:56 pm
I'd love to see Cassandra Wilson, Karen Briggs, or Regina Carter as afrobellas. They're all jazz performers, natural sisters, and over 40!!! Being in my 40s, it would be nice to see some of the older sistahs represented.
Dj says:
February 27, 2007, 9:21 pm
I see that someone recommened alice walker for bella of the week, I recommended her daughter Rebecca. Maybe you could do a mother daughter thing bella. I also saw that someone else recommended Meshell Ndegeocello for bella of the week. she is a great muscian and was also in a long term relationship with Rebecca Walker.
Lady80 says:
February 27, 2007, 10:47 pm
Sometimes a girl just needs a break from the naps...I'm not mad at Chrisette for switching up her style. I've been flat ironing my natural hair for the last couple of years and I don't consider myself any less natural than when I choose to rock a twist-out or braids..versatility is what makes natural hair so great.
jerseybred says:
February 27, 2007, 11:04 pm
Carla suggested Suzan-Lori Parks, YES!!! I LOVE her work.
Anita Grant says:
February 28, 2007, 4:58 am
May I suggest: Deecoily - founder of http://www.nappturality.com or Pookeylou - CEO of http://www.loccorg.com/index.htm or Motown Girl - CEO of motowngirl.com I'm not really up on celebrities so these ladies were the first that sprung to mind for me.
bella says:
February 28, 2007, 9:16 am
GREAT suggestions, bellas! Anita -- I've named Motown Girl already, but I've been considering more businesswomen/beauty blogger types. Thank you all!
chrisette says:
May 10, 2007, 11:15 pm
hello ladies. i thank you all dearly for supporting me as an afrobella! im honored. although my roots are currently straightened i respect all kinds of beautiful african american, latina, asian etc. hair. as a fan of culture and beauty alike i'd love to let you all know that i am a combination of nationalities...irish, cuban, native american, southern african american, and jamiacan. i am happy with my current style of choice for the past 2 years as the photo you all see is about three years old. and with my colorful array of beauty choices to choose from i hope you will still support me as i continue to grow. you can find my cd this june 19th. i hope to make many new friends and fans with its release. god bless each one of you and thank you again for your support. with love, -chrisette michele
kia says:
May 24, 2007, 10:03 pm
@ chrissette's comment above^^: how hot is that bella! glad she came by =)
Dominque Howse says:
May 28, 2007, 11:41 pm
Go to www.dxstyle.net for a complete story on Chrisette Michele.
Melika Jackson says:
July 2, 2007, 6:00 pm
Chrisette's voice is reminiscent of the root of soul itself - and ladies, I have found a website that helps us to make a difference as to this "music" that gets released by record labels. I first heard Chrisette when I was rating her new album on Promosquad.com and let me tell you girls - mmmm mmmm I was hooked immediatly and I bought her debut on June 19th. Sistahs, join me at the forefront of new soul music at Promosquad.com :)