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.
it’s feels weird to me, sometimes, that the raised fist is now used as a super general protest gesture that even centrist liberals will use, and it’ll be in like kid’s movies and stuff
because it was created as a pretty explicitly communist symbol
and was used as an ‘antifascist salute’ to counter fascist salutes
not to mention frequently used in leftist iconography
and in IWW and other socialist organizations in the 20th century
and was used by the Black Panther Party (a socialist group) and other radical, black activists as a symbol of anti-capitalist solidarity and action
the raised fist has such a powerful history in radical anti-fascist and anti-capitalist protest.
I think all activists should learn about it and foster a respect in its complex history. it’s humbling, and also can remind us of the radical roots of different movements which have now been co-opted by liberals and branded by capital.
no matter how many t shirts it’s printed on or politicians using it there are, it has radical roots, and it will always hold that history for leftists to reclaim
on the would be 69th birthday of fallen revolutionary, fred hampton, i want to repeat this rare story deminta frazer told during the combahee river collective and the black feminist tradition panel at socialism 2017.
*~*when frazer was around 15/16 she used to spend her mornings volunteering with the free breakfast program at the chicago chapter of the black panther party where hampton was stationed. she mentioned when she entered her teen years she was routinely cat called and harassed but hampton was one of the only men who totally respected her agency and would pull her to the side to ask her how she was doing. frazer said something along the lines of ‘he showed the love and respect that black men can show to black women’ and that influenced how she accepts the same treatment from every dude that comes her way.
when he was murdered in cold blood by the chicago pd with fbi cointelpro intelligence, she was devastated that a man who had such a profound impact on her understanding of solidarity was taken at the tender age of 21. *~*
i had the quotes from the panel but can’t find it atm. this is just based off memory but wanted to share bc i was deeply moved by her honesty and was really really REALLY happy to hear this about fred. once u dig deep with a lot of male iconoclast figures, their relationships with women can be sus to say the least.