K. Michelle and Damar Jackson
Memphis songstress K. Michelle has scored several hit R&B singles, including “Can’t Raise a Man,” “Self Made,” and “Fakin’ It” featuring Missy Elliott, but she’s probably best known as one of the combative stars of VH1’s noisy reality show Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta, where she first turned up in 2012. It was mainly thanks to the success of that program (where she coined somewhat of a catchphrase with “Don’t shake unless you’re ready to get shook”) that Michelle was signed to Atlantic Records and managed to ascend several more notches up the ladder of a legitimate music career, including landing a song on the soundtrack of last year’s Birth of a Nation film.
Her status as a rising contemporary R&B star was only partly sidelined by VH1’s 2015 spinoff series, K. Michelle: My Life, which chronicled her attempt at transforming herself from moderately successful solo artist to multimedia mogul, a goal only partially attained before the series wrapped last year. Freed from the demands of her TV contract, Michelle is heading back on the road to promote a new album, Kimberly: The People I Used to Know, with a March 7 date at the Music Box in Little Italy. Two singles from the record recently dropped, “Either Way,” featuring convicted girlfriend-batterer Chris Brown, and “Birthday,” for which a video was produced by Yung Berg, aka Hitmaka, that features what appears to be Michelle’s nearly shaved head, as she models a series of increasingly far-out wigs, including one almost certainly inspired by Diana Ross’s most outwardly flowing ‘fro.