She pushed the envelope and broke lady like stereotypes as early as 1971 when her first release “A Child Of God (It’s Hard to Believe)” was pulled from the air. Let’s just say, it wasn’t gospel and from the start Millie wasn’t governed by anyone’s rules other than her own. Tonight she is another legendary artist who will be profiled on TV One’s Unsung.
Millie’s recording career took flight in the early seventies. By 1972 her raspy voice and robust style landed her in the R&B top ten with “Ask Me What You Want.” Then the Thompson, Georgia native ventured to Newark, New Jersey followed by Brooklyn, where she worked as a night club singer. Within a year the sexy and brassy Millie had three top ten singles, one of which was Hurt So Good, which appeared on an album of the same name, as well as on the Cleopatra Jones soundtrack.
It was 1975’s Caught Up album that would set the mark for Millie Jackson, who scored two Grammy nominations for the LP. The next decade brought about a change from the Southbound UK label to Jive Records, but she also recorded for Spring Records and Ace Records. The combined efforts birthed singles such as Hot, Wild & Unrestricted, Crazy Love and Love Is A Dangerous Game. The tally of Millie Jackson albums is over twenty five and is inclusive of racy classics like 1973’s Hurt So Good, 1977’s Feeling B*tchy, 1980’s For Men Only, Live & Outrageous, and Back To The Sh*t.
Nothing was off limits for Millie and according to Roxanne Shante and Da Brat, Ms. Millie set the stage for female rap culture. Her legacy unfolds in tonight’s episode of TV One’s Unsung. She told EURweb’s Lee Bailey about why she didn’t think she was a good candidate at first:
“Number one, it’s nobody’s business what I’m doing, how I’m doing it and they’re not going to be following me around! But when they finally called me this time for Unsung, I had seen what they did with some of the other people and they caught me on a good day.”
The fact that TV One’s Unsung crew they did not want to follow Millie around was a plus, so Ms. Jackson agreed to be profiled on her terms:
“In fact when they called me I said, ‘Why? It’s gon’ be very boring because of my reputation. Because #1 I’m still alive (laughter), #2 I never did drugs and the next thing I said, I’m not gonna say, it was about somebody who was already on there (more laughter)!”
Millie also told Lee why she won’t reveal her legal name and why she is shocked that her infamous foul mouthed “F U Symphony” made it to television after all. The exclusive audio interview (below) also discloses the real deal on Millie and the drug scene. (Caution: Adult language, but what else do we expect from Millie Jackson?)
The effervescent and expletive rich Millie Jackson chuckles over the idea that her grandfather, who was a preacher, might possibly be rolling over in his grave at some of her antics. However raunchy they may appear, they are a sincere expression of the unbridled sixty-plus diva whose only regrets are that songs featuring her tart tongue definitely overshadowed some of her more legitimate vocal renditions.
Millie remembers more than a few creative differences with her former record label, Spring Records:
“It got to be to the point that they didn’t care what I recorded as long as I was rapping. They just wanted to know which one I am talking turkey on. It got to the point where I was pissed off because I had good songs, but they wouldn’t push’ em.”
Millie Jackson put her writing skills to work in 1991 in the stage play “Older Woman Younger Man” which toured for four years. She hosted a Dallas based radio show for thirteen years. Jackson is still regarded as a top R&B act, who more recently recorded on her own label “Weird Wreckuds.” Age hasn’t dulled her senses, she’s still sharp shooting Millie! Don’t miss the “F U Symphony” that will leave your mouth agape on tonight’s episode of TV One’s Unsung.
Watch a preview of tonight’s Unsung on Millie Jackson: