Chaka Khan Took Drug Advice From Etta James

By McCarton Ackerman 02/22/12

Despite her addiction battles, Chaka Khan heeded Etta James's warning never to inject drugs.

Chaka Khan has reached out to other divas
battling addiction.
Photo via

Legendary singer Chaka Khan has been open about her struggles with addiction, but recently revealed that an early encounter with fellow chanteuse Etta James prevented her from ever injecting drugs. The pair first met in the late 1970s, when Khan went to sign at Warner Bros. Records. "She said to me, 'Whatever you do, if you wanna be in this business…' showing me the tracks on her arm,… 'do not do this,' recalls the 58-year-old Queen of Funk. "I said, 'Oh my God! Don't worry, I won't.' And I didn't. I snorted heroin for a good 10 years and I did cocaine, but I never injected." Khan, who has since sold over eight million albums worldwide, is also now nearly eight years clean. She reached out to both Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse before their untimely drug- and alcohol-related deaths, and has expressed similar concerns for Lindsay Lohan. Recovering heroin addict Etta James passed away last month.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.