Jam of the Week – Chaka Khan

Hey retro fans, Bernie’s back with your Jam of the Week and for this week we are taking it all the way back to 1984. This was the year when Madonna gave the MTV VMAs a run for their money, Freddy Kruger made everyone stay up all night and Daniel Son kicked some Cobra Kai butt in the Karate Kid. 1984 was also the year that the classic tune I Feel For Youby Chaka Khan debuted on the charts.

 The song I Feel For You was actually written and produced by Prince prior to 1984  and appeared on his self titled album. Yet, it wasn’t until Chaka Khan lent her voice to the track that the song blew up in the mainstream.  As a result, I Feel For You reached number one on the R&B and dance charts and was featured in the hit dance movie Breakin. From the beginning, spin of the record and Melle Mel’s introduction to Chaka Khan’s voice and that catchy chorus, there’s no doubt this song gets people moving. The music video was one of the earliest R&B singles to infuse elements and themes of the early days of Hip Hop culture by adding in the graffiti background, the DJ, B-boying and a West Coast dance style called popping with the appearance of famed dancers Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp and Popping Taco. As one of the early collaborations between Hip Hop and R&B, the song would be one of the earliest tracks to inspire even more Hip Hop and R&B infusions in the following years.

It was not only the music that set this song a blaze. The outfits of the dancers as well as Chaka Khan’s look represented all of what the 80’s was about. Clothing that made a statement – colorful, bold and full of accessories showed mainstream America what the fashion scene was all about on the other side of the country.  So how can you get the look? Start off with a purple and yellow color scheme with your look that also can mix with some monochrome.  Find a bright yellow shirt and put a purple Educate Elevate jersey over it. Incorporate either a black or checkered print parachute or jumpsuit (search on eBay!) into your look.  Like Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp and Popping Taco, that West Coast Breakin inspired street fashion was also about accessorizing. The more the better, so include a studded belt, fingerless motorcycle gloves, a bandana and converse shoes into the mix. Cap it off with a checkered newsboy cap or if you want to really go all out then cop a large brimmed fedora.

Feeling inspired? Then check out the video for I Feel For You by Chaka Khan below and be sure to come back next week for another edition of Retro Jam of the Week.  Until next time, check out the clothing on the Educate Elevate site and keep educating and elevating yourself.


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