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Legendary funk musician Chaka Khan celebrates her 69th birthday

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Hit songs “Ain’t Nobody” and “Sweet Thing” are just two of many iconic tracks that should be at the top of everyone’s playlist on Wednesday in honor of the legendary Chaka Khan‘s 69th birthday. 

Born Yvette Marie Stevens, the “Queen of Funk” will celebrate the milestone on Wednesday night alongside her only daughter, R&B singer Indira Khan, with a show at Los Angeles’ Catalina jazz club.

Chaka shared a throwback photo of a younger version of herself and Indira in an Instagram post, along with information about the performance. 

Khan rose to fame as the lead vocalist of ’70s funk band Rufus. With a very successful and even more impactful career that spans five decades, the 10-time Grammy winner is certainly considered an icon. 

Although she’s a proud and devoted activist, some may not know Chaka’s beginnings as a member of Chicago’s Black Panther Party. As a young girl, she sold Black Panther papers and even opened a “Free Breakfast for Children” program. Her activism easily translated into her artistry when she produced chart topping songs like “I’m Every Woman” and 1985’s “Through the Fire.”

Chaka paved the way for many contemporary funk and R&B artists. “I’m Every Woman” has been frequently sampled and covered, including Whitney Houston‘s 1992 chart-topping version. Also, rapper Kanye West‘s 2003 debut single was a re-imagined rendition of “Through the Fire,” which nabbed a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo performance.

As stated so accurately on her official website, Chaka has “the rare ability to sing in seven music genres, including R&B, pop, rock, gospel, country, world music and classical,” and is “revered by millions of fans as well as her peers for her timeless, classic and unmatched signature music style and ability.”

Happy 69th birthday, Chaka Khan!

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