Songstress Stephanie Mills. (Google Images)
Songstress Stephanie Mills. (Google Images)

“I’ve been up and I’ve been down
, until you helped me put my feet on solid ground
; I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, then you showed me that there’s so much more
 than the rat race and the fast pace
 could ever offer me.” Lyrics from the song ‘Something in the Way You Make Me Feel’


Stephanie Dorthea Mills, Grammy Award winning singer and Broadway star, was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 22, 1957. Mills appeared in her first play at the age of nine and two years later won Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater a record six times. Mills made her Broadway debut in 1968 in the musical “Maggie Flynn” and in 1973 she recorded her first single, “I Knew It Was Love.” Mills’ career took off in 1974 when she portrayed Dorothy in “The Wiz,” for which she received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress  in a musical. Also in 1974, Mills released her debut album, “Movin’ In the Right Direction.” In 1979, Mills had her first gold album with “What Cha Gonna Do with My Lovin” and that was followed by “Sweet Sensation” (1980). That album featured “Never Knew Love like This Before,” which earned Mills a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, female.

In the 1970s, Mills was briefly married to Shalamar’s Jeffrey Daniels and dated legendary singer Michael Jackson. Mills had several hits throughout the 1980s and 1990s including “I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love”, “I Feel Good All Over,” and “The Comfort of a Man.” Mills, a born-again Christian, withdrew from the limelight in the 1990s, reemerging in 2000 with singles featuring BeBe Winans and rap artist DMX.  In 2004, Mills independently-released the album Born For This on Expansion Records in the UK She tours regularly.

The Akosua Report: Facts on The African Diaspora, is written by Akosua Lowery. Follow her on Twitter @AkosuaLowery.

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