Music

Chaka Khan Gives Memorable National Anthem Performance at NBA All-Star Game

Chaka Khan may be every woman, but her rendition of the national anthem is unlike any other.

On Sunday, the 66-year-old Grammy winner gave a unique and memorable performance of the patriotic song during the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which aired on TNT.

The event — which was held at United Arena in Chicago, Illinois — also saw tributes to late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, plus musical performances from Jennifer Hudson and Chance the Rapper, among others.

“#NBAAllStar2020 game was so much fun & exciting in my hometown 🏀 #Chicago💜,” wrote Khan on Instagram, sharing photos of herself posing with Girls Trip costars Tiffany Haddish, and Queen Latifah, and Kendall Jenner‘s on-off boyfriend Ben Simmons.

Khan’s distinct vocalization prompted both lauding and jesting from viewers about her take on “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Chaka Khan a legend and all but…. that rendition of the anthem was something #NBAAllStar2020,” wrote one user, while another joked: “Chaka Khan is an icon. No slander will be tolerated. Not this Black History Month 😂.”

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Magic Johnson, for one, enjoyed Khan’s musical stylings, tweeting, “…Chaka Khan’s star spangled banner rendition was amazing!”

“I’m not watching the all star game but my phone is ringing off the hook. My guess is someone did a weird ‘Star Spangled?’ ” wrote Questlove on Twitter.

The way in which viewers latched on to Khan’s performance on social media harkens back to two years ago when Fergie’s national anthem went viral from the same sporting event.

Attention to the “Big Girls Don’t Cry” singer’s version of the song, given at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was so strong, Fergie even issued a formal apology.

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RELATED: Fergie Speaks Out About Controversial National Anthem Performance: I ‘Honestly Tried My Best’

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” she said in a statement acquired by PEOPLE at the time. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Fergie, 44, saw support from her ex-husband Josh Duhamel, who stood up for her during the backlash.

“I think that she would probably admit that it was not her best work. But the girl’s crazy-talented, she really is. And she’s an amazing woman, an amazing human being,” he said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2018.

He added: “It’s hard to see someone you care about get beat up like that. But that’s the business — you’re in this business, and you put yourself out there; sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t.”

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