Chaka Khan Celebrates Turning 61 Today


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Wanna hear something good? Chaka Khan turns 61 today.

Known for her riveting voice and strong political beliefs, Khan is considered to be the “Queen of Funk” to many.

Born on March 23, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois, Khan started off life as Yvette Marie Stevens. Interested in music early on, Khan started a singing group at the age of 11 with her sister Yvonne, called the Crystalettes.

Khan picked up her new moniker, Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karfi, after joining the Black Panther Party and dropping out of high school in 1969.

Her voice began taking her places when she joined the funk band Rufus in the early 1970s. It was then that she released the hit “Tell Me Something Good,” which was penned by the great Stevie Wonder. The group won a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.”

While still with the band, Khan released solo records in 1978 and 1983. She earned a number of other Grammys, both on her own and with her group.

Some of her greatest hits include “Through the Fire,” “This is My Night,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “I Feel For You.”

The singer also created the Chaka Khan Foundation to help at-risk women and children and in 2003, released her biography Chaka! Through the Fire, in which she writes about her struggles with substance abuse.

Khan continues to make beautiful music, and made her Broadway debut in 2008 by staring as Sofia in The Color Purple.

Just in case you were wondering, the Twittersphere did not forget about the legend's birthday:

Along with this music great, several other celebs share this birthday. Comedian Marty Allen turns 92 today, singer Ric Ocasek of the Cars is 65, actress Amanda Plummer is 57, actress Catherine Keener is 55, actor Richard Grieco is 49, Blur singer and keyboardist Damon Albarn is 46, actress Keri Russell is 38, and gossip blogger Perez Hilton is 36. Happy birthday!

Image via Wikimedia Commons