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Chaka Khan to headline Dimock’s 28th annual Steppin’ Out gala

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
Chaka Khan to headline Dimock’s 28th annual Steppin’ Out gala
Chaka Khan (Photo: Photo courtesy

Ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan (“I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nobody,” “Do You Love What You Feel”) performs at The Dimock Center’s annual black tie gala Steppin’ Out on Saturday, November 7 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. This year, the multicultural event celebrates and supports Dimock’s mission to restore, transform, and uplift with a goal of increasing access to substance abuse treatment.

Rounding out the musical line-up is Boston native and R&B/pop singer Louie Bello and DJ Spinderella of the Grammy Award-winning rap group Salt-N-Pepa, spinning at the gala’s afterparty.

Speaking to the Banner by phone, Khan shared what headlining Steppin’ Out means to her. “I’m so happy and proud to be part of something so relevant, something so meaningful and necessary,” she said. No stranger to supporting worthwhile causes, Khan established the Chaka Khan Foundation in 1999 after her nephew was diagnosed with autism. At the time of the diagnosis, she recalls that “autism was pretty much unheard of. We didn’t know it either. We were really freaked out as a family. We were looking for information or some kind of book or guide as to what how we could best deal with helping him,” the singer said.

Since then, the Chaka Khan Foundation has expanded to include a host of programs and initiatives that assist women and children at risk. “Mothers are the first teachers. We sort of targeted mothers and children and that evolved into an educational program, where we were taking inner city kids to colleges and they were tutored by the students there with great, great results. They’re still doing great work,” Khan said.

In addition to headlining Steppin’ Out, the entertainer recently received her second nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her first nomination came in 2012, along with former bandmate Rufus.

Khan, who also paints, is working on a series of mixed media visual works with a planned gallery exhibition for 2016, and is recording an album of Joni Mitchell covers also due out next year. Next month, Khan is releasing a single called “I’m In Love With Myself,” geared toward the challenges of body image and bullying.

The powerhouse vocalist, who has influenced a generation of artists, is very thankful to still be relevant. She believes that she’s “walking in a state of grace.”

Over the course of her 40-plus years in music and entertainment, the singer/songwriter has sold over 70 million records, released 22 albums — 11 of which are certified gold and platinum — acted in London’s West End and on Broadway, authored a book and developed a line of gourmet chocolates called Chakalates.

Reflecting on her career, Khan is grateful and determined. “I’m very lucky to have accomplished so much, a 40-year music stand, and I’m not done,” she said.

For more information on Steppin Out please visit or call 617- 442-8800.

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