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jjWhat inspired this story was watching a new video. Janet Jackson, who turned 49 in May, looks fantastic in the “No Sleeep” video. (That’s the way “sleep” is spelled in this instance.”) She could easily pass for 29.

That’s the way it is today…ladies looking good, or even hot, after the age of 40, sometimes well past an age that used to be a “big deal.”

It’s easy to think of Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry in Lena Horne terms. That is, her beauty will be outside the realm of the passage of time. Berry is 48.

Taraji P. Henson’s career is at a new, dizzying peak thanks to the runaway success of the (very) urban TV series “Empire.” Henson will celebrate birthday number 45 next month.

Vanessa Williams was enchantingly beautiful in 1983 when she made history as the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America. Since then, she has established herself as an actress (film, television, the Broadway stage), recording artist and dancer. She remains lovely at 52.

Erica Campbell, one of the two sisters who comprise the contemporary gospel duo Mary Mary, has of late been making it clear that to her way of thinking, there is no conflict in praising the Lord in song and being sexy. Campbell is 43.

When Mary J. Blige first appeared on the recording scene in 1992 she looked — there is only one way to put it, hard — but over the years she has evolved into something completely different. She is now beautiful, refined, fashionable and wearing “44” well.

THERE IS an expression, “red hot Latin,” and it is applicable to singer-actress Jennifer Lopez. In addition to the skills that made her a star, Lopez is known for her large butt, an attribute she takes full advantage of. At the age of 46, Lopez can easily compete favorably with women far younger than she.

We first heard Cheryl Lynn in 1978 when she blazed up the charts with “Got to be Real” and continued her hitmaking ways with “Star Love,” “Shake it up Tonight,” “Encore” and others. The lady with the megawatt smile can still move and she looks good at 58.

The lovely Gabrielle Union seems to have made as many movies as she has celebrated birthdays — 42. Her film work includes “Bring it On,” “Think Like a Man,” “Deliver Us from Eva” and “Bad Boys II.”

Jill Scott — singer, songwriter, poet, actress — is a true artist, and there are not many of those today. Like Cheryl Lynn, she has a smile that lights up a room and she gives her all in everything she does. Scott, pretty and 43, continues to amaze.

She comes up short in the talent department, but it has to be acknowledged that it is hard to believe that La Toya Jackson just turned 59.

MADONNA, the “material girl” who at one point in the early part of her career said she wanted to “rule the world,” stays in shape. And that’s why the lady who used to thrive on controversy looks so good with birthday 57 coming up this month.

No one has more confidence than Queen Latifah. When she first entered the music business as a rapper, more than a few naysayers told her that her size would be a major hindrance. That’s what they thought. Queen Latifah is now firmly entrenched as an actress, talk show host, singer and more. She is 45.

Angela Bassett’s talents are nothing short of amazing. In fact, there are few actresses who even come close to her level of talent, delivery and ability to completely get into a character. For example, Bernadine in “Waiting to Exhale” and Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to do With It?”

The fact that Bassett is happy and in love with her husband, actor Courtney Vance, probably has something to do with her looking so good for a woman who turns 57 next month.

ALTHOUGH she has been mostly under the radar for a significant number of years now — and the reasons why remain a mystery — hope remains that Anita Baker, 57, will return to give us more of “the best that she’s got.”

Vivica A. Fox always has something going on, anything from a movie or a guest starring role on a TV show to competing on “Dancing With the Stars.” She has always taken great pride in her appearance and loves the idea of being “hot,” which she still is at 51.

Singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul is keeping it all together at 53.

So are Jennifer Holliday (54), Rozonda “Chille” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins from TLC (44 and 45 respectively), Nia Long (43), Mariah Carey (45), Jada Pinkett Smith (43), Lauryn Hill (40), Sade (56), Evelyn “Champagne” King (55) and supermodels Tyra Banks (41) and Naomi Campbell (45).

Tracee Ellis Ross, 42, put it all in perspective when she said, “I used to think 40 was old, but now I think it’s hot!”

40 doesn’t matter… and neither does 50 (at least not for these ladies) was originally published on michronicleonline.com

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