On July 7 during the Essence Music Festival, Chaka Khan will perform for and deliver a special commencement speech to honor several remarkable women — all survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
The inaugural event is the result of Chaka’s collaboration with Essence and the Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies. The two paired with motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant to create the SuperLife Transformation Program to assist women in the fulfillment of lifelong and community-altering goals like weight loss or the completing a degree.
This year, 33 women will graduate from the program, begun at the 2011 Essence festival. The graduation will be part of an event taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
“The SuperLife Transformation program has been an oasis of optimism as these women whom we celebrate are likely to become the entrepreneurs and leaders that this country needs,” Chaka says. Having undergone her own significant weight loss transformation, the newly svelte singer says she anticipates the women’s graduation ceremony will be a triumph for them and “one of my fondest days to remember.”
The event is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their old wireless phones for donation to HopeLine, Verizon’s empowerment program for victims and survivors of domestic violence.
For more information, please visit Essence Music Festival.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio