Activist, Actress, Songwriter, Singer (1953)
Born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953, in Great Lakes, Illinois, singer Chaka Khan is the Queen of Funk.
She formed her first group, the Crystalettes, with her sister Yvonne when she was only 11 years old. The sisters later became involved in the Afro-Arts Theater and started another musical group known as the Shades of Black. Some of Khan’s early musical influences include Gladys Knight and Billie Holiday.
In 1969, Khan joined the Black Panther Party and began working with the organization’s free breakfast program for children. She took a new name: Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi.
Khan achieved fame and success in the early 1970s as part of the soul-funk band Rufus. Her talented vocals and edgy style made her an instant hit with fans. She embarked on a solo career in the late ‘70s, her biggest hits include “I’m Every Woman,” and “I Feel for You,”. Khan’s song “Tell Me Something Good” sold more than a million copies.
With a career has spanned nearly five decades, Chaka Khan has won ten Grammys and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.
In more recent years Khan established the Chaka Khan Foundation, which provides education programs to at-risk children and helps low-income families with autistic children.
It’s time to blast “I’m Every Woman”, and have a dance party in honor of the Queen of Funk. Happy Birthday, Chaka Khan!