Chaka Khan and Stephanie Mills faced off Thursday in the Verzuz “Night for the Queens” event, and for the two veteran R&B stars, it was an evening of mutual affection.
“It’s not many sisters in this business that can get together without stupid-a** competition,” Chaka said to Stephanie, who added, “‘Cause this is not a competition, this is sisterly love right here.”
Mills kicked off the 90-minute show with an a cappella riff of “Ease On Down the Road,” from The Wiz. Khan began her set with her Rufus hits “Once You Get Started” and “Everlasting Love,” although her vocals were not up to her usual high standards.
Both singers are mothers, and each performed with their children during the show. Mills teamed with her 20-year-old son Farad, who has Down syndrome, to sing part of “Never Knew Love Like This Before.”
“This is my baby,” said the proud mom. Later, Khan welcomed daughter Indira to join her on the Rufus classic “Sweet Thing.”
Mills’ song list also included “What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin’,” “I Feel Good All Over,” “(You’re Puttin’) A Rush on Me” and “Sweet Sensation.”
Chaka’s repertoire featured “I Feel for You,” “Papillon,” “A Night in Tunisia,” “Tell Me Something Good,” “Angel,” “Stay,” “Ain’t Nobody” and her closer, “I’m Every Woman,” which had Mills, Indira and the audience singing along.
The audience at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles also sang with Stephanie as she belted out her signature song, “Home,” from The Wiz. The most poignant moment occurred when she sang the verse, “And the love that we share can never/ Never, ever be taken away,” while pointing directly at Chaka.
The next Verzuz battle will match Bone Thugs-N-Harmony against Three 6 Mafia on Thursday, December 2.
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