Update 3/7/2023: A week after coming for everyone on Rolling Stone's list of greatest singers, Chaka Khan appears to have cooled off and is apologizing to anyone that may have gotten caught in the crossfire. "Recently, I was asked about a list of the 'greatest singers of all time' and instead of questioning the need for such a list, I was pitted against other artists and I took the bait" the singer wrote on Instagram. "As artists, we are unfairly put into ‘boxes’, ‘categories’ or on ‘lists.’ Being an artist or musician is not a competition. It’s a gift, for which I am truly grateful."
Khan went on to add that it was not her "intention to cause pain or upset anyone" and that she wanted to "sincerely apologize" to anyone that may have felt personally attacked. "Thank you for all the love everyone has shown me, unconditionally," Khan wrote, announcing that as result of this whole incident she's working on starting a foundation dedicated towards building up other artists rather than tearing them down. "I have always been about empowering others and I started a foundation for that very purpose. I will be announcing soon. Empowering all artists is most important because we truly are the architects of change...and change begins within the heart."
Original 3/2/2023: As it turns out, it’s not just Céline Dion fans that weren't terribly thrilled about Rolling Stone Magazine's controversial 200 Greatest Singers list. Chaka Khan also has some choice words for the publication, and everybody is catching strays in the process.
Appearing on Los Angeles Magazine's The Original podcast, Khan took the ranking to task after learning that she had been ranked at No. 29 behind Mary J. Blige at No. 25, who she's had a longstanding on-again-off-again feud with. "They are blind as a motherfucking bat! They need hearing aids," Khan blasted. "These must be the children of Helen Keller!”
Khan went on take issue with Joan Baez's inclusion at No. 189, remarking, “Let’s be honest, the bitch cannot sing,” although she did concede that "she was a good writer.” As for Mariah Carey's No. 5 ranking, Khan seemed to suspect that the only reason she landed so high on the list was the result of some behind-the scenes wheeling and dealing. "That must be payola or some shit like that.” And by the time it got to Adele, who came in at No. 22, Khan threw in the towel saying, “Okay, I quit.”
Fearing the wrath of the BeyHive Illuminati, Khan was careful to avoid passing any judgement on Beyonce's No. 8 spot. “I don’t have anything to say about Beyoncé. She’s a great singer. She really has [the] opportunity to be a great singer. She has what it takes. She got the chops. She does.” And while it sounded like it wasn't her cup of tea, Khan appeared to be indifferent about Christina Aguilera's inclusion. “Whatever, a lot of Black people like Christina Aguilera. She’s alright.”
According to Khan, the list's only saving grace was the decision to put Aretha Franklin in the top spot “As she fucking should be. Thank you! There’s justice somewhere!” She also seemed to take pride in Whitney Houston being given the No. 2 spot, pointing out that she was the one that introduced her to legendary music producer Clive Davis. “I made her mother bring her down to the studio and sing background with me. Her and Luther Vandross. They both sang background for me on my albums.”
Either way, Khan didn't seem all too bothered by the bogus list. “I didn’t even know what the hell you were talking about, so obviously this don’t mean a great deal to me,” she admitted to the podcast's host Andrew Goldman. “These people don’t quantify or validate me in any way.”
And with that, the library is now closed.
Photo via Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris
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