This is Chaka Khan appreciation. Without Chaka, we might never have heard of the (still-underrated) Rufus. We would’ve never had Kanye’s “Through The Wire.” We would’ve just missed so much. Whether you call here Yvette Marie Stevens (her birth name) or Chaka Adunne Aduffe Hodarhi Karifi (adding the Khan after marriage), the name she received when she became a member of the Black Panther Party and friends with Fred Hampton, you’d have to acknowledge that lovers of music owe her so much. 11 solo albums. Another 11 with Rufus. A career that spans more than 42 years. 10 Grammy Awards. 22 Grammy Nominations. When you look at this pictures, know that you’re looking at greatness. I mean, even after all that, she’s so bad that a 60-plus-year-old Chaka Khan looks like a lot like a 31 year old Nicki Minaj. (You’ve been told: it don’t crack.) Her beauty, her hair, the face, the energy, the presence–these things would define a mere mortal. But Chaka is no mere mortal: she is every woman, and her musical and artistic accomplishments are so great that even her beauty cannot distract you from her talent for long. She’s been quoted as saying, “I’ve always struggled so much just to appreciate myself.” That one quote explains so much. But Chaka–Yvette– and this is no substitute, but you should know: we appreciate you, for who you are and what you’ve done. Let me tell you something good: you are one of the best ever to do it. Chicago stand up. Everybody stand up.
Yvette Stevens at 16 years old after befriending activist and Chicago native Fred Hampton in 1967 joined the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party. Her duties were to hit them streets and sell the Black Panther newspaper and she also helped start the free breakfast for children program in Chicago. She states “”I saw what they were doing and it seemed to me that they were making sense.” In 1969 she left the Black Panther Party,she states “”I acquired a gun at one time and right then I realised it was not really for me…” A Yoruba priest at the Afro-Arts Theatre she attended gave her a new, very long name: Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi. Only the Chaka stuck and with a marriage to Hassan Khan she had become CHAKA KHAN.