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*Chaka Khan was born on this date in 1953. She is a Black singer known as the 'Queen of Funk.'
Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens into an artistic, avant-garde household in Chicago, Illinois. The eldest of five children born to Charles Stevens and Sandra Coleman, she has described her father as a beatnik and her mother as "able to do anything." She was raised in the Hyde Park area and is a cousin of singer Lou Rawls. Her sister Yvonne later became a successful musician in her own right under the name Taka Boom. Her only brother, Mark, also became a successful musician. She has two other sisters, Zaheva Stevens and Tammy McCrary.
Khan was raised as a Catholic. In the late 1960s, Khan attended several civil rights rallies with her father's second wife, Connie, and joined the Black Panther Party after befriending a fellow member, activist, and Chicago native, Fred Hampton, in 1967. In 1969, she left the Panthers and dropped out of high school, having attended Calumet High School and Kenwood High School (now Kenwood Academy).
She began performing in small groups around the Chicago area, first with Cash McCall's group Lyfe, which included her then-boyfriend, Hassan Khan. Khan has been married and divorced twice and has two children: a daughter, Indira Milini, and a son, Damien Holland. Her first marriage was to Hassan Khan; in 1970, Khan married her second husband, Richard Holland, in 1976.
During her solo stardom in the mid-1980s, she dated a Chicago-area schoolteacher. Following their separation, Khan moved to Europe, first settling in London and later buying a residence in Germany. Her career has spanned over five decades, beginning in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus. With the band, she recorded the notable hits "Tell Me Something Good," "Sweet Thing," "Do You Love What You Feel," and the platinum-certified "Ain't Nobody." Her debut solo album featured the number-one R&B hit "I'm Every Woman."
Khan was the first R&B artist to have a crossover hit featuring a rapper, with her 1984 cover of Prince's "I Feel for You." Khan has also worked with Ry Cooder, Robert Palmer, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Guru, Chicago, Gladys Knight, De La Soul, Mary J. Blige, and Ariana Grande. Khan is vegan, saying she adopted the diet to lose weight and combat high blood pressure and Type-2 diabetes. In the past, Khan struggled with drug abuse and alcoholism until 2005, when she declared herself sober. In 2006, her son Damien Holland was accused of murder after 17-year-old Christopher Bailey was shot dead. Khan testified on her son's behalf. Holland was acquitted in the criminal trial and found liable in the civil suit.
In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 65th most successful dance club artist. She was No. 17 in VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. Khan has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times as a solo artist and four times as a member of Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, the first time in 2012 as a member of Rufus. In 2023, Khan was an inductee in the Musical Excellence category. Awards and nominations To date, Khan has won ten Grammy Awards, including two as a member of Rufus. She has received 22 Grammy Award nominations, including three as a member of Rufus.