Ten-time GRAMMY ® Award-winner Chaka Khan (who just shed 60 pounds) joined David Foster and Friends at the Kennedy Center Spring Gala in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, May 6, to raise money for arts education. Foster's other “friends” included singers Jewel and Peter Cincotti, along with trumpeter Chris Botti, violinist Caroline Campbell, soprano Angel Blue and a multicultural group of new and developing artists. Chaka performed “Through the Fire,” “I'm Every Woman,” and the newly penned “The Promise That We Make,” which she performed for the finale with all performers and 40 wives of military servicemen.
The evening before, Chaka electrified a sold-out crowd at the historic Howard Theatre. Performing for an audience of loyal and devoted fans, she sang her signature classic hits, including “I Feel For You,” “Tell Me Something Good,” “Sweet Thing,” “Everlasting Love,” “Ain't Nobody” and more. The Washington Post headline for its rave review read, “Chaka takes the crowd through the fire.” Chaka shared her testimony with the audience about her days of alcohol and drug abuse and the desperate and urgent pleas from her daughter and mother that put her on the road to recovery. During an interview at the Howard Theatre, TV and radio personality Tavis Smiley shared with DeNeen Brown of the Washington Post, “I've seen her so many times, but I've never seen her go to church. Tonight's concert was a spiritual experience.” April Ellington, daughter of Duke Ellington added, “Chaka is in absolutely fine voice. She looks better than ever.”
Chaka recently appeared at the first annual International Jazz Day event at the United Nations in the General Assembly Hall in New York City. Khan shared the stage with some of the greatest jazz legends in music history. She performed Ella Fitzgerald's classic, “Them There Eyes.” The inaugural event was led by Herbie Hancock, UNESCO's, (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, and the Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. April 30, was declared International Jazz Day. The program began with a message from the United Nations Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, followed by an appearance by Dr. Susan Rice, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, and a message from Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova. The event's hosts were Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk, Jr. and George Duke. The performances were led by Musical Director George Duke and included Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Angelique Kidjo, Sheila E. and a long list of some of the best international jazz musicians in the world.
Free of alcohol and drug use for eight years now, Chaka, in recent years, also struggled with her weight and was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. Determined to get healthy, she committed to diet and lifestyle changes. She has lost over 60 pounds and is now free of both high blood pressure and diabetes.