Music Legend Stephanie Mills Is Living Her Best Life
“What makes me happy and makes me prideful is the fact that people come out to see me. Audiences still come out to see me. We just played [in Los Angeles], me and El DeBarge, and we sold out,” Stephanie Mills tells us. “And for me not to have any new music out, and for people to still come and pay their hard-earned money to see me is just amazing. I’ve never had what you call a regular job, so for me to still be in the game at this age and still doing well is a blessing, and that I’m proud of.”
Her “prideful” reference is tied to the Lifetime original movie the Grammy-winning singer stars in — Pride: A Seven Deadly Sins Story (it’s the fifth movie in the network’s successful Seven Deadly Sins anthology film franchise). The film debuts on Lifetime Saturday, April 8 at 8pm ET/PT. The film also includes a touching segment that allows two Grammy-winning actresses — Erica Campbell also stars as a pastor in the film — to exercise their vocal range. “I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised,” Mills shares.
“I haven’t acted in a long time,” Mills shares. “The film hit home for me. I’ve had people in my family who have passed away from cancer, so I can relate to that. Family is everything to me; it was everything to my mom and my dad, too. My mother never let anything get in between her children. For my mother, her children were everything, so I couldn’t relate to [my character] Birdie in that sense, but I knew the essence of her. I knew she was a strong Black woman who wanted the best for her children.”
Mills, who just turned 66, credits her mother for being the strong woman in her life and instilling in her the confidence she still carries today.
“My mother always told me, never go where you’re tolerated, but always go where you are celebrated. And I carried that out through my career,” Mills says.
When Mills was just 11 years old, she walked onto the stage for amateur night at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater and never looked back — she won amateur night for six straight weeks and then hit the road with the Isley Brothers. That was the start of what would become an amazing, five-decade-long career, which included her run as Dorothy in The Wiz and her iconic hits “Never Knew Love Like This Before” and “Home.”
“I’m living my best life, and it has a lot to do with the business that’s being run by my manager. He allows me to be who I am and do the things that I want to do, even to push me. Sometimes, back in the day when you’re starting out and you’re riding high, people are pushing you to do certain things that you don’t necessarily want to do. And I’m really like on my own path and that’s what makes it really joyful. A lot of entertainers, they lose their joy on the way. I haven’t lost my joy and that’s important to me.”
You can keep up with Mills and her current tour here, but for now enjoy the legend in Lifetime’s Pride: A Seven Deadly Sins Story (Saturday, April 8 at 8pmET/PT).