TV One’s “Unsung” is one of the network’s most popular shows. Seen as the African-American version of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” music lovers tune in to reminisce and gain behind-the-scenes access of the careers of their favorite old school musicians like DeBarge, Phyllis Hyman, Teena Marie, David Ruffin, and Vesta Williams. Season six of the one-hour series is slated to premier on June 25, 2012, just in time for Black Music Month with Sly and the Family Stone. But while some musicians are very much willing to tell the world their stories, others aren’t so enthralled. Veteran singer Stephanie Mills is one of them.
Mills gained popularity on the charts in the 80s with hits like “I’ve Learned to Respect (The Power of Love) and conquered the Broadway stage in “The Wiz” and “Maggie Flynn.” Her life and career have all the toppings worthy of an “Unsung” episode, as she has triumphed through three failed marriages and the challenges that come with raising a special needs child. But the Brooklyn-born powerhouse is not trying to hear it.
“I don’t like that show,” Mills told The Huffington Post in a recent interview. “They have approached me quite a few times, but I [won’t] do that show….I’ve always been very private and at 55 I don’t want to open up my life to that”They’ve done Angela Winbush and they even wanted me to say something about her on that show, and I love Angela, we’re sisters. But I had to tell her, ‘I don’t want to do that … I’m not that girl…I don’t want to get on these shows and open my life up; I don’t think it’s anyone’s business….They even called my agent and tried to offer me some kind of tour if I did the show, and I was like, ‘I can’t do it,'” she said. “It [goes against] everything that I believe in.”
The musicians that the show has featured have often faced devastating hardships and tragic endings, whether it’s drug/physical abuse, alcoholism, and/or death. However, Mills is still up and going strong; she’s headlining New York City’s Blue Note Music Festival in June. And because of this Mills says she doesn’t feel “unsung.”
“I just think that it’s not for me,” she continued. “Let me sing, let me do my concerts, let me do music… I feel like I’ve had a wonderful career. I’ve done wonderful things and met so many wonderful different people. So I don’t feel like I’m unsung at all.”
The upcoming season of “Unsung” includes Angela Bofill, Kool Moe Dee, and the late Gerald Levert.