Stephanie Mills to perform at UNCF’s annual Black & White Ball

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R&B and soul singer Stephanie Mills, former Broadway star who began her career appearing in her first play at age 9 as the orphaned child of a runaway slave in the musical Maggie Flynn, will entertain at the Chicago United Negro College Fund’s 11th

R&B and soul singer Stephanie Mills, former Broadway star who began her career appearing in her first play at age 9 as the orphaned child of a runaway slave in the musical Maggie Flynn, will entertain at the Chicago United Negro College Fund’s 11th annual Black & White Ball on June 11 at The Fairmont Hotel. In 1975, the Grammy and American Music Award winner’s career rose when she portrayed Dorothy in the African American version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (entitled The Wiz), which made her a star because of her block-busting rendition of Home, her signature tune for years. However, her biggest hit to date is Never Knew Love Like This Before. Her I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love, hit No. 1 on the R&B singles chart. Other of her signature hits: If I Were Your Woman, I Feel Good All Over and You’re Puttin’ a Rush on Me.

Mills was romantically involved with Michael Jackson for a short period while in The Wiz and was married briefly to Jeffrey Daniel of the soul group Shalamar and again to Dino Meminger; both marriages ended in fewer than two years. She married a third time to Charlotte, N.C. radio program manager Michael Saunders in a wedding ceremony performed by Min. Louis Farrakhan. They divorced sometime later. Miles has a son, Farad, who has Down’s Syndrome but she will not comment on the identity of his father other than to say she is not married and that her ex-husband Michael Saunders is not the father.

Also at the UNCF ball, Carolyn House-Stewart, national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and WGN-TV receive special awards. James Wooten Jr., of Illinois Tool Works, the presenting sponsor, chairs the fundraiser; Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn and Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle are honorary chairs. The ball begins with a reception, then dinner, live auction and entertainment. Call (312) 845-2200 for $500 tickets.

Insider Info – Chicago chapter members of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Public Relations Society are guests at an Open House on Thursday at Burson-Marsteller’s Chicago offices in the Merchandise Mart. Cocktails and light snacks will be served at 5:30 p.m. followed at 6:15 p.m. by three 15-minute breakout discussions. Two former journalists will discuss making a successful switch from the newsroom to agency life; an HR/recruitment team will share info on what BM looks for in resumes/skills set, open opportunities, company culture and dedication to diversity; and a Proof Integrated Communications duo will talk on Digital and Social Media in P.R. RSVP by emailing your name, title, company and email address to Chicago.Divusion@bm.com by this Wednesday. Also bring a business card for a chance to win a prize.

Fathers’ Day Fete Runako Jahi, eta Creative Arts Foundation’s long-time artistic director, is one of a half-dozen honorees named to receive a special “Tribute to Men” award from N’Digo Foundation on Fathers’ Day (June 19) at its annual Gala & Concert (brothers Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Kevin Edmonds perform) at Chicago Symphony Center. Other honorees: ABC 7’s Charles Thomas, Meisrow Financial’s Les Coney, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church’s Rev. Charles Jenkins, Northeastern Illinois University’s Dr. Conrad Worrill and Morehouse College’s Dr. Robert Franklin. Mayor Rahm Emanuel chairs the scholarship fundraiser; Hermene Hartman, N’Digo publisher, and Art Norman emcee. For $250 gala tickets, $2,500 box seats and $50 concert only seats, call (312) 321-2800.

Newsy Names Hats off to Rev. and Mrs. Otis Moss (she’s “First Lady” Monica) of Trinity United Church of Christ and Pastor John Hannah of New Life Covenant Church of Oakwood, who emerged victorious at “Dancing with the Pastors,“ a competitive benefit at Chicago State Univ. hosted by Darryl King (102.3 FM) and featuring several church pastors. DWP was presented by Kim Tyler’s faith-based Endure Productions, a non-profit that offers access to professional performing arts training. The Mosses (she choreographed their tango dance number) were voted Grand Prize winners by the judges’ panel; Rev. Hannah took home the Peoples’ Choice award.

Jermikko, award-winning fashion designer, presents her Annual Famous Designer Manufacturers’ Warehouse Clearance $20-$50 Sale at her factory-showroom, 329 W. 18th St., #410, all this week and weekend featuring beautiful linens, silks, cottons and sheers in tantalizing summer colors, sizes petite to 28W. Some coats are deep-discounted. Call (312) 563-1877 … Happy b’day to Deborah Olivia Brown, Ramsey Lewis, Frances Jackson, Christian Eric Farr, Irma Hall, Lola Williams Robinson, Clementine Coleman, Paula Green, State Sen. Mattie Hunter, Felicia Middlebrooks, Lydia McDonald, Betty Kennedy, George Franklin, Christella Moody, Larry Wert, Carolyn Rush, Joy Bennett, Lerone Bennett III, Linda Rush, Clarence Williamson, Art Porter, Wynona Redmond and Gale Sayers Don your fav-o-ite black and/or white attire and come out to Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization’s Black & White Bronze Affair on June 18 at Blanc Gallery, 4455 S. King Dr. Celebrate summer and KOCO’s 45 years of organizing the community, says Jackie Payton, KOCO board member. Tickets: $45; call (773) 548-7500.

Dance Diva! Judith Jamison, world-renowned artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, worshipped with friends at Trinity United Church of Christ. After the celebrated dance company’s five-day tour, May 18-22 at the Auditorium Theater, the 68-year-old Jamison, who joined AAADT in 1965, stepped down as its artistic director. (Robert Battle takes over.) I attended the Saturday evening performance and on the program: Three Black Kings, Sweet Otis (a tribute to the late Otis Redding) and Revelations, my absolute all-time favorite AAADT piece. I’m still standing and wildly applauding!

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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