Chaka Khan Happy About Essence 365 Awards, Shrugs Off Kanye BET Moment

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By Rebecca Thomas

NEW ORLEANS -- Day two of the 2012 Essence Music Festival got under way Friday morning (July 6) with a some awards show love for a few of the bright lights of R&B. The 365Black awards, presented by McDonalds, honored Chaka Khan and power couple Tamia and Grant Hill, among others.

On a blazing N’awlins morning, MTV News’ Rapfix team caught up with the honorees on the red carpet, as well as presenters and guests like Tank, Q of 112 and MC Lyte. They opened up about EMF, pitching in for the community, and even weighed in on rising R&B star Frank Ocean’s revelation this week about his sexuality.

The iconic Chaka, newly slimmed down, also touched on her recent BET Awards appearance, where she helped pay tribute to fallen legend Whitney Houston. But when we asked if it was cool to share the stage with Kanye West, who famously ignited his career as an MC with the Chaka-sampling “Through the Wire,” the soul singer wasn’t, um, exactly enthusiastic. In fact, she said she was more excited to see D’Angelo, who’s set to hit the main stage tonight at Essence.

Meanwhile, Tamia showed time has been good to her cords, performing her new single “Beautiful Surprises” for the 365Black crowd.