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Chaka Khan gives back

posted 18 Jun 2012, 10:52 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Jun 2012, 10:53 ]

The singer is using her star power to help women and children.

NEW YORK + LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES  - After nearly four decades in the music industry singer Chaka Khan is proving that she is still a force to be reckoned with.

Khan first came on the scene in the 1970s as the frontwoman for the funk band Rufus, and then became a solo star with the disco classic, "I'm Every Woman" in 1978.

Twenty years later the song was made a hit again by her friend Whitney Houston, who died in February.

The 59-year-old singer, who has been very vocal about her past struggles with drugs, said it was hard not to be able to help Houston with her battle.

Chaka Khan, singer, saying

"For the most part, it's a realization one has to reach on one's own because you - you're talking to the substance usually when you're talking to a person. So what they're going to do is what they're going to do."

Now 80 pounds lighter, Khan is making health a priority and is living in a state of semi-fast.

Chaka Khan, singer, saying

"I had type two diabetes and high blood pressure and see, I'm not going softly into that dark night, that's a dead issue. In fact, this is like afternoon for me, I'm not even looking at tonight - and I have a - I adopted my granddaughter who is ten and I felt like I've got to be here."

In July, Kahn will use her presence at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans to help women who are still struggling after hurricane Katrina devastated most of the city in 2005.

Chaka Khan, singer, saying

"Around 150 women are going to graduate this summer and when I first meet them last year, like I said, these women were in dire straits, post traumatic stress syndrome, it was like really bad. And now these chicks are like closing on houses, they have their own businesses. It's amazing."

This is all being done through her charity, "The Chaka Khan Foundation," which also focuses on education and assisting those with autism.

Alicia Powell, Reuters.