In 1999, Kelis officially kicked off her career at the age of 20 with the well-received Kaleidoscope. Since then, the Harlem-born, skillful mother of two remained relevant and true to herself through a number of challenges including accusing  former partner Nas of being abusive and fluctuating levels of success throughout her music career.

Here are just a few of the many reasons to celebrate Kelis on her 40th birthday.


She turned her makeup into art way before Euphoria

You’ve likely noticed an uptick in bejeweled faces since the release of HBO’s Euphoria, but Kelis was ahead of her time, as illustrated in this throwback snap, where she sported an array of colors and glam that not many can pull off.


She doesn’t limit herself.

Though this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise – being that Kelis’ mom is a chef (in addition to being a fashion designer) – her decision to devote herself entirely to the culinary world was somewhat unexpected. (She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and now sells hot sauce, FYI.) But quien dice que no se puede hacer los dos? Honestly, we should’ve known this pivot was coming when she gave us cuisine-inspired songs like “Suga Honey Iced Tea,” and an album named Tasty, only to then further cement her brand and attempt to blend her passions in the unerring Food.


She’s blessed us with many a timeless hits.

Although her most memorable track is “Milkshake,” Kelis also blessed us with “Caught on There” and “Bossy.”


Relatably to many Caribeños, her name is a portmanteau of her mom and dad's name.

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Wednesday night lights

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on

Her father, Kenneth, was African-American, and her mother, Eveliss, is of Puerto Rican and Chinese descent. They mashed up their names and gave her her unique name. Beautiful.


She’s inspiring in more ways than one.

We’re suckers for a good, funny inspo quote that makes your soul feel healed. This is just one of the many little life tips you’ll find throughout her social media.

Happy birthday, Kelis. I’m gonna head out to my bodega in this ‘fit in your honor:

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