Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chaka Khan

You may find this hard to believe but one of the reasons I became a filmmaker was because of Chaka Khan! No, seriously...

As a kid I read about this 1920's brilliant, beautiful African-American aviatrix, Bessie Coleman. She lived in Chicago and worked as a manicurist among other things until she was advised by Robert Abbott to go to France to get her pilots license. Bessie became a pilot and started 'barnstorming' that is she travelled around the country doing tricks in the plane at different air shows. Tragically she died in a plane crash in 1926.

What's all this have to do with Chaka and me becoming a filmmaker? Well, after I read about Queen Bess, as she was sometime refered to, I thought it would make a great movie. It had everything--action, adventure, culture and a beautiful wild sister to boot. So I made up my mind that I was going to make this movie and the only person who could possible play the role was Chaka Khan. She was certainly wild enough and I also thought she'd look spectacular in a pilots outfit, hair flowing out of the cute leather helment Bessie wore.

I never did make that movie, years later the genius filmmaker, Euzhan Palsy, was trying to make a Bessie Coleman film starring Angela Bassett. Unfortunately it never got made either. Even though I didnt make that film, I still thank Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan for inspiring me to make films.

When I told her that story she just patted me on the head (Ok, I exaggerate, it just felt like a pat on the head) and said, 'Oh, how sweet.'

Oooooh sweet thing....

1 comment:

  1. This is serendipitous. I was going to try to get in touch with you with a link about an effort to get this movie made finally. I think you can do it Barbara!!!