Chaka Khan has won 10 Grammy Awards over the course of her impressive career, and now the legendary singer will take the stage at one of the biggest basketball games of the season! The 66-year-old powerhouse will perform the American National Anthem at the 69th NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16! She will be in good company, as Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, and Quavo are among the other artists performing at the game held in Chicago. The legendary musician’s career has spanned nearly five decades, first gaining notoriety in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus. Her jaw-dropping vocals, and iconic image as a dance superstar earned her the nickname, the Queen of Funk. Here’s 5 things you need to know about her!
1. The NBA All-Star Game will be held in Chaka’s hometown. When she takes center stage to perform the National Anthem, it will be in her hometown of Chicago! Born Yvette Marie Stevens, the singer grew up in the city and attended several civil rights rallies which inspired her to join the Black Panther Party. It was at some point in her early teenage years that she changed her name to the now-iconic Chaka Khan.
2. Chaka recently appeared on the Fox reality series The Masked Singer. When Miss Monster was unmasked on the Feb. 12 episode of The Masked Singer, it was revealed that Chaka was indeed the celebrity underneath the costume! Sadly, she was booted from the show, which is judged by Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy and Ken Jeong. But she wasn’t the only powerhouse kicked off the program — both Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight suffered the same fate earlier in the season.
3. She performed “Going Up Yonder” at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral. There was a humbling combination of sadness and joy in the room when Chaka performed a rousing rendition of “Going Up Yonder,” originally by Walter Lee Hawkins, at the Aug. 2018 funeral for Aretha Franklin. “I think it’s a positive, beautiful spin on this thing called life, or at least this part of life because death is a part of life,” she said ahead of her performance. People in the audience were on their feet clapping along to the song throughout the beautiful, touching tribute to Aretha.
4. Chaka has received a whopping 22 Grammy Award nominations. Three of her nominations were for her work while in the band Rufus — the remaining 19 were all earned throughout her solo career. What a star! On top of that, she has sold more than 70 million albums and has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.
5. The death of Chaka’s friend Prince pushed her to check herself into rehab into 2016. Both Chaka and her sister Taka Boom (aka Yvonne Stevens), entered an intensive rehabilitation and aftercare program to help fight drug addiction in July 2016 following the death of her beloved friend Prince. The Grammy winner had been battling an addiction to the painkiller fentanyl, the same drug that Prince overdosed on in April 2018, and it was his death that pushed her to finally address the problem and get help! “Unfortunately, I will miss concert appearances over the summer,” she said in a statement at the time. “However, it’s vital that I put my health and well-being first. I know that I am disappointing some of my fans, but I also know they would want me to recover and be well and healthy.” We certainly do — and we’re so glad she’s doing much better in 2020!