Birthday Boogie Love for Chaka Khan’s Every Woman

The singer turns 58 today.

By Jamilah King, Thoai Lu Mar 23, 2011

The R&B and soul singer Chaka Khan, who’s won 10 Grammy awards and been nominated for a total of nearly two dozen, turns 58 today. Khan topped R&B charts and won her first Grammy in 1975 for "Tell Me Something Good" and then cemented her place in pop icon history with the feminist-laced ballad "I’m Every Woman" in 1978. The song was later recorded by Whitney Houston in the early 90s, but it’s Khan’s version that helped bring American disco to an international audience. And the authenticity in her voice has remained reliably consistent throughout the decades, as shown by one of her most recent Grammy wins in 2008 for the album "Funk This," the singer’s thirteenth album.

Yet as Spinning Soul recounts, Khan’s life was book-worthy long before she made it big. Born Yvette Marie Stevens, Khan took the name Chaka Adunne Aduffe Hodarhi Karifi after joining the Black Panther Party while still in high school (the name "Khan" came later after she married her first husband). In 1969, at the age of 16, she left school and the Panthers to pursue her music career. Dance floors, radios and block parties haven’t been the same since.

Besides Grammy awards, Khan has received BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and two Career Achievement awards from Soul Train. Sing on, sista.

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