*“What a night! Thank you for sharing it with me. Believe it or not, last night was my 3rd birthday celebration in less than a week! We started in LA on the 21st, Miami on the 23rd (my actual birthday) and wrapped last night here in New York. Whew! I am so blessed to have so many special people like you in my life! Many have asked how they may gift me. All I ask is for you to support the work that I do with the Chaka Khan Foundation (www.chakakhanfoundation. org). I am very proud of the work that we do with at risk women and children. If you’d like to support please go to this link: http://tiny.cc/chakakhan. With love and gratitude – Chaka.”
This is the note “invitational only” guests received the day after attending R&B superstar Chaka Khan’s New York City birthday bash at the trendy EVR Lounge, a new gastro-lounge on 39th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, on Tuesday, March 26, 2013. The hot new watering hole EVR! — Pronounced EVER – is the talk of the garment district.
This was the perfect setting for Chaka – 75 pounds lighter — who arrived looking svelte as ever in an eggplant-hued velvet dress and knee-high purple boots topped off with her signature curly auburn locks causing a paparazzi frenzy.
Once inside the beautiful triplex featuring lofted ceilings, three floors high — from an art gallery on the list level to a large dance floor, main bar and a second floor mezzanine level with bar and stage for entertainment — the singer was escorted to a private dining area decorated in burgundy with matching seat covers, table clothes and elaborate floral arrangements featuring a fan in each vase atop each table.
Greeting her was her sister Tammy and her publicist Gwen Quinn. Her entrance garnered a standing ovation from a star-studded crowd that included Gayle King, Rev. Al Sharpton, Star Jones, Freddie Jackson, Juanita Jordan, Taraji P. Henson, Soledad O’Brien, Pauletta Washington, Lee Daniels, Stephen Byrd, Debra Lee, Stephen Hill, Phillip Bloch, Mark Fried and Gordon Chambers. Also Don Thomas, Karu F. Daniels, Bev Smith, Kevin Anthony, Emil Wilbekin and Roland Martin.
After dinner, the fantastic crowd sang Happy Birthday as Stevie Wonder’s birthday song played in the background. Then Khan blew out the candles atop an amazingly gorgeous cake with a microphone in the center. She further electrified the crowd with a speech paying tribute to her family in particular, her sister Tammy. “I sent her to college so she could take a business course so we could keep this in the family,” she said. “ I don’t think I made a wiser decision in my life. Sometimes nepotism can work as long as everybody wears their specific hat,” she concluded. She also acknowledged and gave high praise to her publicist Quinn stating that she was no easy customer but “Quinn keeps up with me.”
Then the place turned into a dance party as the second tier of guests — who were invited to the dance party only due to space limitations — started piling into EVR to get their party-on and to pay homage to “EVRone’s favorite woman.” And a fabulous time was had by EVRbody! (Photos by Ronnie Wright)
About The Chaka Khan Foundation
The Chaka Khan Foundation educates, inspires and empowers children in the Los Angeles community to achieve their full potential. The Los Angeles-based Foundation envisions that through its mission they will give children who are at risk, either through poverty or through health issues like autism, the ability to achieve their dreams and give back to the community. Having a loved one with autism, Khan recognizes the incredible potential of children with autism and the financial and emotional strain put on families. The Foundation supports autism by partnering with existing autism organizations to help raise awareness and funds for programs that provide direct support. In 2005 the Foundation launched the Chaka Believes program with 50 students entering the 5th grade at Charles Drew Middle School in Los Angeles. The goal was to help these children reach their potential through giving them the tools they need to succeed. As our funding grows, The Foundation will launch this program with other schools and in other cities.
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.