When it comes to her hair, Chaka Khan has one rule: bigger is better! Stylish had a chance to sit down with the legendary singer to discuss her new wig line Chaka by Indique — which features two iKhanic wigs in curly and straight styles — and, in the process, the “I’m Every Woman” singer opened up about struggling with her own self-image and how she learned to love herself.
“Growing up my hair inspiration was always [political activist] Angela Davis. She was the first big hair I saw, and I liked that a lot.” Khan tells Us. “We were in the afro-centric phase, so my friends had huge ‘fros, but mine would fall down a little and [I’d] hairspray it all up. That was the first style that inspired me. The big hair is always what I liked.”
But even her iconic locks and larger-than-life stage persona couldn’t stop her from questioning her value in the industry. “I’ve been rock and rollin’ for over half my life — more than half. I started at 18. I’m 66 now,” she recalls. “I spent a large part of my life feeling alien to myself and feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t like myself for a long time.”
But that all changed as she watched her granddaughter, Raven Alexis Genine, grow into herself. “She’s big and beautiful and she loves herself so strongly, and it was her who gave me lessons on how to love myself, she really did,” Khan shares. “She’s like a hoochie mama from way back! She’s beautiful and her spirit is out there for everyone to see. Her persona and beauty and love of herself is what is big and I love it.”
She now enjoys a similarly empowered sense of self and hopes to share all that she’s learned with young women. “I really did start only in the last couple of years to love my look, but it’s more in the way I feel about myself inside. I could come in like Lady Godiva, buck-naked, and feel beautiful! I feel empowered inside now,” she explains. “I’ve got lots to share, and I want to share it with the younger people … and help them.”
Another goal? Make women feel like the best version of themselves with her new wig line. “This is an exchange of power with this collection,” she says. “When woman do their hair, it’s their hair. If it’s s wig, clip-ins, a ponytail, afro puff or a weave — that’s their hair. I want them to feel like themselves, even in my hair!”
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