Some days are better than others and then some days produce the greatest joy. January 16 has got to be one of those immensely joyful days because it's the day that brought the world not one, not two, not even just three, but four cultural queens who have left indelible marks on the entertainment world for decades. Simply put, it's the birthday of Debbie Allen, Sade, Aaliyah
According to BirthdayPersonality.org, Jan. 16 babies know how to get things done.
"Those born on January 16 love the idea of successfully completing projects to the best of their ability. They have great organizational skills and it gives them enormous satisfaction and fulfillment to see a job well done," the website reads.
Naturally, social media is blown away by the level of talent celebrating birthdays today.
I’m convinced that Debbie Allen, Aaliyah, FKA Twigs and Sade sharing the same birthday isn’t coincidental. CAPRICORN QUEEENSSSS
— mia (@miamakaveli) January 16, 2021
Debbie Allen Turns 71
Debbie Allen is a choreographer, dancer, actress and director who took the entertainment world by storm in 1980 when she starred in a Broadway revival of West Side Story, which garnered her a Tony nod and the gig as choreographer for the 1980's hit film and later television series, Fame. Her work on the television program earned her three Emmy Awards and incredible industry acclaim. She is also known for her work in creating the perfect HBCU experience as house director and co-producer for the sitcom, A Different World, after taking the reins following a more unrealistic depiction in season one.
"Having come from Howard University, I knew what to do with this show," Allen told MadameNoire. "I lived it and breathed it. I knew the stories that they needed to be telling. They didn’t need to be walking around talking about an egg. They needed to be doing stories about voter registration or date rape or their cultural identity. Who is Whitley Gilbert? Who is the boy in this cast that she needs to be with? And I was, ‘Hands down, it’s Dwayne.’ We did many other things they weren’t ready for. I was always being called into what I called, ‘the principal’s office’ for doing shows that were really about something.”
In 2001, Allen opened the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), a non-profit organization committed to expanding the reach of dance and theater arts with the hope of enriching, inspiring and transforming the lives of its students, according to its website.
She was recently named a Kennedy Center honoree for the postponed 43rd annual national celebration of the arts.
"This is so much more than our nation's highest artistic award, it is a measure of how my footprint has resonated as a path of light over the years and in this time of tremendous uncertainty, fear, and search for hope," Allen told the Kennedy Center. "This glorious achievement I share with my family, mentors, and students who have inspired and pushed me all the way. I look forward to being part of a fresh start for America and reminding the world how essential the performing arts are in our lives."
I fully believe Debbie Allen is the best thing that happened to us.
— big nita (@josielameow) January 16, 2021
In true diva fashion, Allen took to Twitter to not only thank fans for their birthday wishes but to also remind people that she is gorgeous.
"Hey! It's my birthday. That's right, this is what 71 looks like," Allen said in a video posted in the tweet. "Honey, join the club if you're lucky."
This is 71 ???????? THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes! pic.twitter.com/AIsAtrG364
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) January 16, 2021
Sade celebrates her 62nd birthday
In other Black don't crack birthday news, Sade Adu, frontwoman of the classic band Sade, is 62.
The Nigerian-born British singer has been a fan favorite for four decades with her gently swaying hips and smooth jazz, funk, Afro-Caribbean soul-stirring songs. The band's debut album Diamond Life, which was released in 1984 won the Best New Artist Grammy Award in 1985. Their second album, Promise, which featured the hit “The Sweetest Taboo,” saw them embark on their first world tour after that song sat atop American pop charts for six months. The band continued its success with two more hit albums and subsequent world tours before Sade herself stepped out of the limelight for nearly a decade.
The band reunited in 2000 for the Grammy Award-winning album, Lovers Rock and its accompanying world tour.
"Like everyone, we're on a ship of unknown destination but that's life … no mutiny yet," Sade told the magazine. "There's always so much to do: there are songs I so want to write, and I've rediscovered the joy cooking brings."
She released an album in 2018, but time will only tell if the COVID-19 pandemic will allow her to pen new material for a new album.
Aaliyah would have been 42
Aaliyah Haughton shook the R&B scene as a teenage sensation in the mid-1990s releasing three incredibly successful albums before breaking the hearts of a generation when she died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.
Her versatility launched the public awareness of production powerhouses Missy Elliott and Timbaland, as well as channeling the energy of music gone by with her renditions of songs by Marvin Gaye and The Isley Brothers.
In her short time in the entertainment industry, Aaliyah landed platinum albums, chart-topping hits, award nods and work in acting that appeared to be launching her into a new career trajectory.
She was tragically killed on August 25, 2001, in a passenger plane crash in the Bahamas, following the filming of her music video for "Rock the Boat."
In celebration of Aaliyah's birthday, her estate released a tweet alerting fans that they could soon stream her music.
“We hear you and we see you. While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control and, unfortunately, take time,” Aaliyah’s estate wrote. “Our inability to share Aaliyah’s music and artistry with the world has been as difficult for us as it has been for all of you. Our priority has always been and will continue to be Aaliyah’s music."
— Aaliyah (@AaliyahHaughton) January 15, 2021
The older I get, the more I realize just how YOUNG Aaliyah was when she passed. 22 is young, but the fact that she is still influencing music and fashion almost 20 years since her passing is a testament to her brief but amazing career. Happy Birthday to the legendary Aaliyah! pic.twitter.com/oGGGDcFnhA
— Breyon is celebrating the birthday of Dr. King! (@BreyonWilliams) January 16, 2021
FKA Twigs is 33
Tahliah Debrett Barnett, the singer-songwriter, dancer and actress professionally known as FKA Twigs is 33. While she's been working in entertainment since she was 17, she became widely known in 2012 when she released her debut music. Since then she's put out several music projects and has been featured on works by A$AP Rocky and Dua Lipa, among others.
The Jamaican-English British artist is also known for the film, Honey Boy, where she met her contentious ex-boyfriend, Shia LeBeouf whom she is suing for various abuses, which encouraged other women to release their own claims against the defamed actor, as Blavity previously reported.
She has also been a champion for women's health issues revealing that she had laparoscopic surgery to remove six fibroid tumors from her uterus.
"I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again," she wrote on Instagram. "I had surgery in December and I was so scared, despite lots of love from friends and family I felt really alone and my confidence as a woman was knocked."
While she's in good birthday company, it seems clear that FKA Twigs plans to go the route of her birthday twins and stay forever young.
"In human years, I am like 28. But how old are we really? We don't even know. In time that humans have set, which isn't real, I'm 28. But like how old am I? You don't know how old you are. Your son could be older than you. What are we talking about? Human years? Soul years? Creative years? Years of what? That's how I see things. I don't know how old I am. I can't say," she said in an interview with Glamour.