Chaka Khan issued an apology to her peers. The legendary singer turned “Dancing With the Stars” season 21 contestant was under fire after she dissed several superstar singers during a controversial guest spot on Los Angeles Magazine’s “The Originals” podcast on March 1, 2023.
The 70-year-old singer apologized days later in a lengthy social media statement.
Here’s what you need to know:
Chaka Khan Says She ‘Took the Bait’
In a statement posted to Instagram on March 5, 2023, Khan noted that she was asked about Rolling Stone magazine’s “200 Best Singers of All Time” list. On the bottom of the list were Spanish singer Rosalia and hardcore punker Glenn Danzig, and at the top was Aretha Franklin, followed by Whitney Houston. Khan landed in 29th place on the list of greatest crooners.
In her statement, Khan said that during the podcast she was “pitted against other artists and I took the bait.” The “I Feel For You” singer added that she did not feel that being an artist should be a “competition,” and that rather than commenting she should have been “questioning the need for such a list.”
“It was not my intention to cause pain or upset anyone,” she wrote. “To anyone that felt this way, I sincerely apologize.”
Khan also noted that she started the Chaka Khan Foundation focused on “empowering others.” According to its website, the foundation focuses on programs for children and families.
“Empowering all artists is most important because we truly are the architects of change…and change begins within the heart,” she wrote.
Khan received support from fans and famous friends, with some agreeing that she was “baited” during the interview.
“As a living legend in every respect, every opinion you have is utterly fascinating to us fans. It’s unfortunate that it’s been turned into a somewhat negative storyline,” one fan wrote.
“If people actually took the time to listen to the entire interview, they would hear the interviewer baiting and cornering you into this question when you weren’t even interested in discussing it. But you’ve earned the right to speak your truth,” added writer Geneva Thomas.
Others said Khan had a right to be fired up over the list. “You shoulda been in the top 5 chaka. everybody knows that. Rolling Stone has NO clue,” singer Macy Gray wrote.
Chaka Khan Blasted Singers Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey & More
In the fiery podcast segment, Khan did not take kindly to some of the rankings on Rolling Stone’s list, which dropped on January 1, 2023. Of Mariah Carey’s spot at No. 5 on the list, Khan speculated, “That must be payola or some s*** like that.”
When told that Mary J. Blige also beat her on the list, landing a few spots ahead of her at No. 25, Khan went off on the editors who compiled the rankings. “They are blind as a motherf****** bat!” she ranted. “They need hearing aids. … They have no eyes. They have no ears. These must be the children of Helen Keller!”
Khan also didn’t hold back on folk legend Joan Baez’s spot on the back end of the list – where she clearly thought she deserved to be. “Let’s be honest, the b**** cannot sing,” Khan said of the “Diamonds and Rust” singer before giving Baez some credit as “a good writer.”
Khan did note that Rolling Stone’s list didn’t “mean a great deal” to her, adding, “These people don’t quantify or validate me in any way.”
On Rolling Stone’s list, Khan was praised for her “vocal stamina and range” as well as her prolific catalog as a solo artist and in the Chicago-based funk band Rufus in the 1970s.