“I got asked to do it, and I said yes,” Khan told USA Today. “It’s no secret that I loved Whitney to death. I love her in death, as in life.”
Chaka Khan said she views Houston as her “little sister.” She proudly accepted the opportunity to perform at the gala, setting plans to belt out the R&B hit “I’m Every Woman,” a song that attests to the relationship she shared with Houston. The motivational anthem was a success for both artists, topping charts for Khan in 1978 and for Houston in 1993.
A successful single isn’t the only thing the two artists have shared. Both Khan and Houston battled life-threatening drug addictions. Music journalist Alan Light says, “[Chaka Khan] had to balance having this incredible vocal instrument with battling demons.” Khan’s ability to relate to Houston’s personal strife created a deeper connection between the two performers. She argued that Houston should have been monitored more closely during her final days. “I still feel all that,” Khan admits. “But I’ve moved on.”
She is now solely focused on the well-being of Bobbi Kristina. “At this point, we just make sure that her daughter is OK, and that all of our children don’t fall into that horrible place this business can take you.”
Chaka Khan appears to have her own life under control. She shed 60 pounds and has made plans to release a few new songs. She hopes to release an album in the next year.
Other artists honored at the Apollo Spring Gala include Lionel Richie and the late Etta James; both will be inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame. Legends Don Cornelius and songwriter Nick Ashford will also be recognized.