Chaka and Luenell had a good ole time talking for Vlad Tv and covered a lot of ground in quite a bit of what has happened in Chaka’s life before and after she achieved fame.
In addition to speaking about her not being attracted to collaborator Rick James, Chaka also spoke about something else the two artists had in common: drugs. It just so happens that it’s a history she shares with Luenell as well.
Chaka: How did I manage to get so much music done and get so f*cked up at the same time.
I used to go to Rick James house and I used to go to Natalie Cole’s house. I used to go to occasional underground, after hours joints.
I think part of the reason we’re still here is because some of what was in them drugs was formaldehyde. That formaldehyde type of effect.
Luenell: We’re preserved like fossils from the inside.
Did you feel like it ever affected your voice though?
Chaka: No. Those things live in two different areas of my whole makeup. Your calling is untouched by anything. What you are put here on this earth to do is untouched by anything. Nothing can mess that up.
Luenell: Whitney’s voice was one that did get destroyed by, you know…
Chaka: And frustration, emotion, and stress. That will really affect you profoundly. She was in a stressful situation. She was being pulled in a way that…
Luenell: It would wear down anybody.
Chaka: It would.
Body Image Issues
Luenell: There was a time when you were heavier. You’ve lost a lot of weight. Do you feel like there was any discrimination against you when you were thicker? When you lost the weight, it was like, ‘Got damn look at Chaka!’
Chaka: I got a lot of attention when I lost the weight because I lost the weight. When I say Ima do something, Ima do it.
Luenell: You came from the Indian style, with the mid drifts and then you was covered up like Stevie Nicks.
Chaka: I sure was. I have a bad body image. I don’t know what I look like. I really don’t. I can’t stand in the mirror and assess myself in comparison to other people.
Aretha had the same thing. She would order and have size 8 made for her when she was a size 40. God bless her. I’ve seen many a zipper bust on her on stage. God bless her. When there is genius in one area, some place else really suffers. You’re a coo koo head in another place.
I lost that weight because I was pre diabetic. I said no. This is not.
Luenell: So you did it on your own?
Chaka: Yes I did. And anyone can do it on their own.
Luenell: There were rumors of surgery.
Chaka: No, there was no surgery. No cutting. Two c-sections and one knee surgery and that’s good for me. I’m not about the knife or needles.
Luenell: What would you say to people who are struggling with their weight now? This crazy time, a pandemic. People are trying to eat better during this quarantine.
Chaka: If there was ever a time when you want to focus on improving yourself in anyway, now would be that time. And believe me, it’s a struggle. It’s been a struggle to maintain my weight during this pandemic. Me and food don’t have an emotional thing going but when you’re just sitting up looking at frick and frack movies all day, and thinking ‘Oo what can I make for dinner? What can I snack on?’ I like to cook healthy. I always have. My kids been eating spaghetti with no meat in it their whole lives. They did not know that they were not eating meat for a long time.
She also spoke about working with Prince and not wanting to sleep with him either, despite his talent. And she spilled some medical information about the late artist.
Luenell: I know Prince is probably not your flavor perse but didn’t you ever just want to kiss him?
Chaka: No. You had to know the guy because he’s shorter than I am.
Luenell: I don’t give a damn.
Chaka: It’s a problem for me. He’s fabulous and he’s a genius. And I loved him for all those things. But never in that way. I didn’t want him. If you have to climb up to my lips, then we have a problem. I’m only 5 feet tall on a good day.
Luenell: He don’t have to climb. He can stay right where he at. If you know what I mean.
Chaka: I do. But I didn’t feel for him like that, in that way. I feel for him but I didn’t feel for him. Chaka said making a play on the song the two did together, “I Feel For You”
Lots of women felt that way. But I didn’t. It takes more than a pretty face to move me.
He was very smart. He had all of the attributes that I would be interested in. Except, we did music together. It just isn’t in the cards. I was cool with that. Then I read in an article that he gave this girl herpes, I was so happy—if I ever had a thought, I could live with myself.
The music she and Prince made together.
Chaka: Who does a whole CD in three weeks? I came in the last night and said, ‘What are we doing next?’ He said, ‘We’re done.’
You can listen to the portions of this interview in the videos below.