Each year, on March 8, we honor the achievements of women around the world, and this year, we can set that International Women’s Day celebration to the perfect soundtrack.
R&B legend Chaka Khan recently re-recorded her 1978 empowerment anthem, “I’m Every Woman,” for the big occasion, and she did it with another iconic vocalist by her side — Broadway star Idina Menzel.
“It’s a very surreal moment for me, I’ll just say,” Menzel told TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones during a chat about the recording. “She is one of my idols. I’ve listened to her my whole life. I’ve tried to emulate the way that she sings.”
As Khan sat next to her, she added, “For her to allow me to accompany her on this song, is a great honor.”
And they did it for a great cause.
Khan and Menzel recorded the track for the global humanitarian organization CARE, as part of its #IMEVERYWOMAN International Women’s Day campaign, which according to a press release, recognizes “the strength, resilience, and leadership of Every Woman around the world, especially in the face of colossal challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
But the duo did more than just record the song that was also once a hit for Whitney Houston and even served as the theme for “The Oprah Winfrey” show in the mid-‘90s. They filmed a video for the anthem, too, and TODAY was able to give viewers an exclusive sneak peek on Monday.
CARE notes that the video features “cameos from activists, trailblazers, frontline heroes, artists, and incredible women from across the globe who have benefited from CARE’s programs.”
As for the song itself, Khan says the message goes beyond the memorable lyrics that describe just how much one woman can do. “Most of what’s being said about the song is not in the words,” the 67-year-old told Sheinelle. “We’re speaking another language. We’re speaking the language of the angels.”
Menzel, 49, did her best to translate that language.
“I think it’s about women supporting women,” she said as Khan nodded. “I think it’s about sisterhood. I think often society tries to get us to compete and tear each other down. It’s about holding each other up and giving each other an opportunity to be heard and be seen.”
And to be recognized for their accomplishments.
“I’m partial to women, because women were the first teachers,” Khan said, adding, “We’re the first everything — all of that and two bags of chips.”