According to reports from several fans and hip-hop and R&B’s Rico Love, what was supposed to be a stellar performance from the Queen of Funk Chaka Khan ended in a fan walk-out for what they suspected to be drug or alcohol abuse from the legendary songstress.
Chaka took the stage at the 13th annual Jazz in the Gardens festival in Florida over the weekend alongside other soul, R&B, jazz performers like Anita Baker, Smokey Robinson and Fantasia. From the very first note, however, it was clear that things would go downhill from there. And that they did, as clips recorded by fans show the 64-year-old music icon struggling through lyrics from her classic hits such as “Ain’t Nobody” while fans made their way to the exit. Many of them took to Twitter to air their suspicions that she was either high or drunk.
Despite the troubling performance, Chaka refused to let such a notion go by unaddressed, however. In a reported statement to The Jasmine Brand, Chaka allegedly has been “battling the flu for a number of weeks.” Sure, doctors advised her to cancel her shows for some much-needed rest, she reportedly stated, but knowing Chaka, she decided to hold true to her stage promises for the fans despite the illness.
“Chaka values her fans and supporters and would never do anything to jeopardize their support and love,” her rep reportedly added. “Under doctor’s orders Chaka will be resting for the remainder of the week until her next performance engagement in Macon, Geogia, Saturday, March 24.”
Looks like the fans behind the tweets below should probably catch up on her memo.
I love Chaka Khan with my whole heart but she is drunk as hell on stage and Jazz In the Gardens . This makes me so sad #TTLO— Rico Love (@IamRicoLove) March 18, 2018
She’s not even singing at all. She’s just standing on stage as THOUSANDS of ppl walk out. Her background singers are killing it though! This really breaks my heart. I’m not posting this to make fun of a legend but I’m genuinely hurt! #TTLO— Rico Love (@IamRicoLove) March 18, 2018
Is Chaka Khan drunk on stage? She sounds terrible 😩 #jazzinthegardens— AmerAKA's Finest (@shawtyred79) March 18, 2018
Chaka Khan was drunk and/or high at #JITG2018 I am so disappointed and sad. I was really looking forward to her. I thought maybe she was just hot and dehydrated but 😞— BallerAlert (@balleralert) March 18, 2018
I was very disappointed in #chakakhan tonight at #JITG2018 she couldn’t remember her songs she looked beautiful but she wasn’t able to perform her songs tonight she just was in West Palm Beach at Kravis center she did a nice job tonight in Miami people started walking out pic.twitter.com/4xN1D89yas— cynthia Traveling Queen (@cynthia33324663) March 18, 2018
I hope Chaka Khan checks back into rehab if she really was high & drunk last night. These reports aren’t looking good about her performance.— Purple Heels (@MeseinHeels) March 18, 2018
Wow, heard that it was bad. We have loved you so much @ChakaKhan, please get some help... don’t go out like this!— Justjes (@laceami) March 19, 2018
Are we having a candlelight vigil for Chaka Khan's voice or nah? Cuz its breaking my heart right now.— T'MADE (@imadeintruth) March 19, 2018
Yo everyone left during Chaka Khan set. Folks saying she high af on stage. I feel bad. I love me some Chaka #JITG2018— I Create Shit (@bree_thecreator) March 18, 2018
So im at Jazz im the Gardens amf ummm.... Chaka Khan is high as a kite.— Nelly (@ceonelly) March 18, 2018
@jazzgardens WHY didn’t you stop Chaka Khan from coming on the stage?! She was so high!! It was HORRIFIC!!— Pari Allen (@PariAllen) March 18, 2018
Bruh... Chaka Khan is on this stage DRUNK AS FUCK. 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️— Courtney Thompson ❤ (@CourtKoBain) March 18, 2018
So at first I’m like...Chaka Khan did you forget the words? Then, I’m like...Chaka Khan are you drunk? Now I’m like...Chaka Khan are you High?— Dee Windt (@billboardcritic) March 18, 2018
(Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)