The guestlist for The Jennifer Hudson Show has felt like a legend’s ball lately. Jennifer Hudson has welcomed Chaka Khan and Patti LaBelle to her show, and later this week The Isley Brothers will get in on the daytime action. She’s also had future icons Ledisi and PJ Morton on, and most recently, JHud rolled out the red carpet for the one and only Stephanie Mills.
The petite powerhouse joined Hudson for an interview that found her reminiscing about how she’s been singing since before she could walk when her older sisters would prop her up in her crib. “I could sing all the time,” Mills reflected, eventually going on to sing in church. From there, she made her leap to the stage, making her Broadway debut as a child, winning Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater six times and going on her first tour with the Isleys and The O'Jays as their opening act.
It was when she starred as Dorothy in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The Wiz that her star really rose, and it’s only been up from there. Mills got excited when talking about her contributions to music throughout her career and to the PBS special Black Broadway that aired earlier this year.
Stephanie really lit up when she spoke about her son Farad Mills and her manager Amp Harris. She beamed like a proud parent when talking about her 22-year-old who hasn’t let Down syndrome hold him back. She also heaped praise on Harris who she said is a father figure to Farad and the best manager she’s ever had. Considering how booked, busy and blessed the 65-year-old singer and actress is, we’re inclined to agree.
Of course, Jennifer Hudson couldn’t have such a legendary talent like Stephanie Mills on her show and not get her to sing. Mills agreed but only if Jenny joined her. Hudson needed little convincing to sing Stephanie’s signature song “Home” from The Wiz with her, calling the moment “a dream.”
Accompanied by The Jennifer Hudson Show’s resident pianist Charles Jones tickling the ivories, Mills started things off and sounded incredible singing the song that she’s been singing for almost 50 years. Stephanie made light work of the soaring notes while JHud sat there in awe. Hudson soon began singing and brought her own amazing vocal skills to the couch as the two divas had a sing-off to end the brief performance.
Thankfully that wasn’t all that Stephanie Mills blessed The Jennifer Hudson Show with, singing the episode into its end credits with a live rendition of “Be A Lion,” also taken from The Wiz. Watch both performances below and prepare to be awestruck yourself.