Michel’le Breaks Silence About Biopic Success, Upcoming Plans & More
Discovered at a young age, the shy, squeaky-voiced Michel’le Toussaint, was plucked straight from South Central Los Angeles, California, and catapulted into the spotlight while riding N.W.A.’s rocket ride of early stardom. Surrounded by industry visionaries from the late greats Eazy-E to Tupac Shakur, Michel’le quickly climbed the charts; but, her musical successes were soon overshadowed by both betrayal and corruption. A nearly decade-long romance with the infamous Dr. Dre pushed her into a life tarnished by alcohol, drugs and violence, until her savior came in the unlikely form of Suge Knight, co-founder of Death Row Records and Dre’s, then, business partner. Friendship would turn into a courtly romance, but the union Michel’le thought they had did not end happily-ever-after. With children from both men and a career to protect, Michel’le’s voice became silenced by Compton’s biggest power players. That is until now…
My interview with the first lady of Compton, Michel’le.
Parlé Mag: It’s been well over eighteen long years since the release of your second and final solo LP Hung Jury. Although a very solid effort, as a whole the project itself didn’t really seem to connect with the masses, why do you think that is?
Michel’le: I was so sad when I did that album. If you really listen to it, you can hear my sadness. You can’t cheat the fans, they know better. Plus, Suge didn’t want to promote because he thought all the songs were about Dre.
Parlé Mag: Back in 2010, you unleashed a, then, brand new single “Freedom to Love,” with plans for a proper third studio release. Why did that situation fall through?
Michel’le: I wanted to take my time and find better material.
Parlé Mag: Reflecting, and for those who don’t already know, please catch everyone up to speed as to what all exactly you’ve been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, since your fans/followers had last heard from you?
Michel’le: As you can see, I’ve been very busy with the movie, new music and the book. There is a lot more to come in 2017.
Parlé Mag: Which brings us to now. The entire entertainment world is still abuzz after the airing of your Lifetime biopic ‘Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Me‘. What exactly prompted your decision to tell the harsh reality of your life story?
Michel’le: My manager, he said he had a crazy idea for me to share my story differently and he was right. I didn’t want to at first because I didn’t think anyone would care. But the response has been overwhelming.
Parlé Mag: Were you a little surprised or even taken aback some at the amount of overwhelming love that you’ve since received in the wake of the movie’s success?
Michel’le: Absolutely, yes! I didn’t think anyone would care. I was wrong.
Parlé Mag: At any point in time were you ever worried about receiving any backlash from exposing too much of your truth in this capacity?
Michel’le: NO! I (have) always been an open book with my fans; good or bad. They know me.
Parlé Mag: With that being said, Dr. Dre has since taken legal action following the film’s release — What are you thoughts on this still pending situation?
Michel’le: Empty threats. I hear he’s doing a documentary with HBO with Jimmy Iovine. If you notice, he never does anything alone. Why do you think that is?
Parlé Mag: In having said that, did you hold back or refrain from saying anything specific when it came to telling the Michel’le story?
Michel’le: Child, yes! I had to leave some tea for the book. And I’m telling you now, the movie is gonna look like Disneyland compared to the book.
Parlé Mag: Switching gears here, and obviously because you operated more so behind the scenes when it came to ‘Surviving Compton…,’ are there any plans firmly in place for your return to screen, a la R&B Divas: Los Angeles or any other small/big screen vehicle for that matter?
Michel’le: Yes. We’re doing a reality show. I can’t tell you what network yet. It’s gonna be a surprise. But you will be one of the first to know.
Parlé Mag: On the musical side of things, what all are you currently working and/or gearing up for at this time?
Michel’le: Doing new music. Working with Steve Russell (of TROOP fame), Stacy Barthe and Midian Mathers. I can’t wait for you to hear the new stuff.
Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Michel’le: I’m producing TV now. I’m also helping other young women tell their stories. So look out for Michel’le the producer.
Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your biggest career achievement?
Michel’le: My children are my best and most important achievement.
Parlé Mag: Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Parlé Mag: Any “closing” thoughts for our readers?
Michel’le: Thank you, thank you, thank you… for the love and the support, and I’ll continue to do my best and give you more of myself.