Okay Old Skoolers lets jump right in to it…
Stephanie Mills, the little white girl from All in the Family right?
ehh, close but no. I’m talking about the fine black soulful sister from back in the day; the woman most readily remembered for playing the role of Dorothy in The Wiz, but lets not get ahead of ourselves folks. Stephanie’s reputation as an artist was formed long before she landed in Oz; in fact, she began her ‘career’ at age 11, 2 years after her first appearance on stage, when she won Amateur Night at the infamous Apollo Theater.
Fun Fact: She actually won a record breaking 6 Amateur Nights at the Apollo in total and her stellar performances at the Apollo landed her a role in the Broadway musical Maggie Flynn.
Strangely when Paramount records and later Motown records signed Stephanie, her music wasn’t very well received; as a matter of fact, her first two albums flopped and as a result, Stephanie left Motown records in 1976.
BUT In 1975, the year before she left her label, Stephanie was cast as Dorothy in The Wiz and recording “Home” which made her an instant star. At this time, SHE ALSO BEGAN DATING MICHAEL JACKON, which definitely added to her celebrity-ness. Unfortunately or fortunately, Stephanie Mill’s relationship with MJ only lasted a short time; MJ went on to date a young saucy Brooke Shields after Stephanie. Apparently Miss Mills left a bad taste in Michael’s mouth because after that he never dated a black woman again…ever.
Awesome Fact: Stephanie Mills is the only black woman to ever date Michael Jackson (that is a coveted title folks)
Four years later Stephanie signed to 20th Century Fox’s record label and became a disco sensation when she released “Put Your Body In It”. When I listened to “Put Your Body In It” I definitely did: I took the weave out of my hair, went natural, and started disco snapping like no body’s bizz naz (business, I use slang cuz I’m hip)
She peaked in 85’ when she covered Angela Winbush’s “I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love”; her version of the song hit #1 on the R&B singles chart that year. Ill explore what happened to Miss Mills after 1985 in an upcoming blog so stay posted Old Heads as I investigate the force of nature that is…Stephanie Mills.