Whether in the 70s super group Rufus, or on her own as a solo star, Chaka Khan has always been the original Fly Girl. Her stage bombast and vocal acrobatics remain unparelleled even among the current crop of female singers out today. NYTimes interviewed Khan before she begins her run as Sofia (my namesake!) in The Color Purple on Broadway. The Color Purple is one of my favorite books, movies, and now has become one of my favorite musicals, after I saw it last summer. I think that Khan will be a lovely addition to the already amazing cast. If all of the above reasons aren't enough to love Chaka, maybe her answer to the following question will tip the scale:
Q. With the exception of a few small screen roles and the musical “Mama, I Want to Sing” in London in 1995, which you said you hated, you haven’t acted before. How will you become Sofia?
A. I don’t have to. I am Sofia. We’re so much alike. We’re both nuts. Her fundamental application to life is the same emotionally. She’s one of the forefronters of women’s liberation and the first nonslave black woman who wasn’t a slave to anybody. I’m like that. I’d rather be dead. They might as well hang me. And like me Sofia comes from a matriarchal family. My mother’s side migrated up from Georgia. I had a lot of help from my ancestors with this. I saw such a kinship with the character.
Chaka was recently nominated for a Grammy for her new album, Funk This, her best in years.