Iconic singer Chaka Khan is having a great October. Last week, she was nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 with her first band, Rufus — and now she has been named the grand marshal of the 2019 Tournament of Roses.
As grand marshal, the 10-time Grammy Award winner will ride a float in the 130th Rose Parade and take part in the pre-game celebration for the 105th Rose Bowl, which will both occur on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California, according to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses website.
Additionally, the “I’m Every Woman” singer will perform in the Rose Parade’s Opening Spectacular.
The theme of the upcoming parade is “The Melody of Life,” which celebrates the universal language of music — something the 65-year-old Queen of Funk knows a thing or two about.
“On a grand scale, [music] has an ability to heal — to unite, to provoke change, to bring joy and harmony and rhythm and happiness,” said Rose Parade President Gerald Freeny, as reported by the Pasadena Star-News. He elaborated further.
“Music has the unique power to transcend borders and boundaries, to travel across countries and continents. It speaks to old and young. It represents, enriches, and sustains our human existence.”
“It is so appropriate,” Khan said following the announcement on Wednesday, October 17, at Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses House, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “I’m so honored. This is something so new and different for me… At any rate, we’re going to have fun!”
Although she’s accomplished many feats in her long and esteemed career, this is the “I Feel For You” vocalist’s first time taking on the duties of a grand marshal — and it has her a little worried.
“I’m a little bit scared, I’ve got to tell you the truth,” she said.
“But fear, for me, has always been a good thing. If I’m scared of something, if something frightens me a wee bit, I’m all about it — I go to conquer. I’m kind of just in a tizzy about what exactly I’m going to do — us rolling down the street there.”
Gary Sinise, Vin Scully, Dr. Jane Goodall, Paula Deen, Cloris Leachman, and Emeril Lagasse are just some of the previous grand marshals of this particular parade.
The 130th Rose Parade’s route is five-and-a-half miles long, down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard. Floral floats, marching bands, equestrian units, and more can be seen from 8 a.m. to approximately 12 p.m. PT. The New Year’s Day parade usually airs nationally on the Hallmark Channel, as well as on various local television stations.
The Rose Bowl Game is a college football playoff semifinal that takes place at the Rose Bowl Stadium at 1 p.m. PT. Sports fans can catch the game on ESPN.
In addition to her legendary music career — she has released 22 albums and scored 10 No. 1 hits — Khan has starred on Broadway, competed on Dancing with the Stars, and helps at-risk women and children through her Chaka Khan Foundation.