Chaka Khan, recently nominated for the 2016 Rock Hall of Fame, has collaborated with the greats of Rock and Soul from Stevie Wonder (Tell Me Somethin Good) to Prince (I Feel for You), to Steve Winwood (remember her soaring on his Higher Love?) to Quincy Jones (Back on The Block).
Her recently unearthed version of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing includes guitarist Eric Gales and funk producer/musician Ira Schickman.
Chaka Khan has been one of my personal Sheroes since I was 12 years old, horrifying my Mama by belting out ‘Tell Me Something Good”, “You Got The Love” , and “Sweet Thing” behind my locked bedroom door.
In addition to possessing talent and beauty , she seemed powerful–larger than life, and blessed with what I often felt cursed with: too much of the muchness, that inexplicable thing I was accused of that made grown men bother me, boys scared of me, and my mother struggle to keep me under wraps.
Of course, at that age I didn’t know about her on-going struggles with addiction and self-doubt.
I didn’t think I was special because I thought everyone could do it.–Chaka Khan to The Daily Mail UK, 16 August 2014
Later, as a young woman, when a friend who worked with one of her producers shared that part of Chaka’s story with me, I understood, empathized, and prayed for her peace.
Later as still as she emerged from years of drug-abuse and ill health to re-blossom personally and revitalize her long career, I admired her resilience and radiance.
If Chaka doesn’t make it into the Rock Hall of Fame something is seriously wrong in the balance of the Universe.
Catching Up With Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman: The Moxie Bee Interview
Last week The Moxie Bee featured the poetry of the multi-talented Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman, who also sings as Khadijah Moon.
You can read about how her stage name evolved into its current celestial incarnation at her Artsy Moon blog.
Calling her a renaissance woman almost doesn’t cover her creative output: poetry, short stories, plays, songs, the production of events and programs, and soon–films.
Featured here today is her new single, titled “hunger”.
The song was written in response to her mother’s death during a period of estrangement, as she dealt with the pain of losing her with unfinished business left behind.
Khadijah shared some of the song’s back-story on her blog:
I wrote this song “hunger “less than a month after she died. I have questions.
I have this intense love. I have a lot of anger. What came out was a letter to her in song about all of that. My life partner, who is also my producer, composed beautiful music on his guitar to accompany the song andthisis what we came up with.
I shared the song on my Facebook personal page yesterday and received feedback from others who had similar relationships with their mothers, could relate to the sentiment. I received feedback from folks who have (or have had) struggle-free relationships with their moms and still could find value in the words of the song, even more grateful for their relationships with their mothers.
The song is beautiful; the sound is warm and smooth, with an undertone of ache that is never maudlin.
I encourage you to buy it, download it, and add it to your collection.
But wait–there’s more: Khadijah is also known as The Creative Midwife™,which is the business she created to help anyone with a creative dream bring it to life.
The Moxie Bee: What came first for you: singing, poetry, creative mentoring?
Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman: I’ve been writing since I could write words, I think.
I remember writing songs, as a little kid (inappropriate songs, at that) and short stories as early as elementary school.
Whenever I learned a new form of writing formally, I embraced it lovingly and would play around with it on my own.
It went hand in hand with my voracious appetite for reading.
I’ve written poems, plays, songs, short stories and (incomplete) novels nonstop since childhood.
Very thankful to have had some of my work published, plays produced and songs recorded.
I began loving to sing as I started to fall in love with musical theater and getting to sing more in music classes.
I recall the kick off of my singing on stage being this one year where I convinced my 5 year-old sister to sing “My Favorite Things” in the school talent show while I played it on piano.
I was so proud that I had learned how to play it. When we went to audition, she ran off stage in the middle of me playing and, to play it off, I started singing it.
The teachers auditioning us loved it. I wound up singing it for my 6th grade graduation that year instead of the talent show.
The Moxie Bee:What music most fuels your urge to create?
Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman: Honestly, I don’t know
The Moxie Bee: What inspired you to start working as a creative midwife–helping others birth and fulfill their creativity?
Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman: I began to brand myself as a creativity coach when I started to get inquiries from others on how to self-publish after I published the first anthology in the Liberated Muse book anthology series.
I started doing workshops and then decided to offer basic editing and proofreading services until one of my clients, the late Nathan Seven Scott, started wanting to work with me in more of a coaching capacity.
I helped him with organizing his concepts, which led to our sessions really becoming breakthrough moments.
I would assign him readings of online resources and really worked with helping him build his skills which led to him really expanding his goals to writing more books, building a writing team, etc.
My work with him inspired me to want to do more with other clients.
I chose the name The Creative Midwife because the most significant moment in my life was giving birth to my daughter with the assistance of a team of midwives who were the epitome of grace, nurturing and expertise.
My beautiful brown baby– now a pre-teen– would not have arrived safely (during a hurricane, no less) if it weren’t for the care of the midwives who helped me.
The Moxie Bee: Who are your creative heroes and heroines?
Khadijah Moon: Toni Morrison is one of my main inspirations lately when it comes to writing.
Her unapologetic attention to her characters, crafting them from a perspective not dependent on a white gaze is empowering, inspiring and validating.
I have always loved the poetry of Langston Hughes.
His simple phrasing coupled with ironic yet charming storytelling always captivated me as a child and I love it to this day.
The way he said a lot without writing a lot is a gift very few have.
Lastly, I cannot fail to mention Robert Frost.
Learning about him in 10th grade English at Friendly High School in Maryland with the best English teacher every, Mr. Poniatowski was a turning point for me as a writer and reader.
Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” engaged me in literary analysis and understanding how words can be arranged in a way to say so much that can be interpreted in different ways based on the experience of the beholder, like visual art.
I can go on and on about people who I look at as s/heroes but those mentioned have been the most consistent.
The Moxie Bee: Have you participated in the Black Poets Speak Out project?
Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman: Yes, I have participated in Black Poets Speak Out.