Stephanie Mills got “so much hate mail” when she was cast in ‘The Wiz’.
The 66-year-old actress was 17 years old when she was cast as Dorothy in the all-black retelling of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and recalled being told that late screen legend Judy Garland – who famously played the role in the 1939 movie – would be “turning in her grave” at the thought of a black girl taking on her signature role and reached out to fellow actress Halle Bailey, following her star turn in the live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’.
In a Facebook post, Stephanie Mills said: “As a young black girl playing the role as “Dorothy” in seven-time Tony Award-winning Broadway play “The Wiz”. I know what this baby #HalleBailey has been dealing with. I got so much hate mail, I was told Judy Garland “is turning over in her grave”. All because a little black girl was playing a role, that was once played by a white girl. It’s sad to see the same thing is happening to this beautiful, talented, smart and intelligent actress. Halle, God put you in this place and time….So let your light shine. Hold your head up high, walk in your peace, and celebrate the greatness that you are.”
Stephanie Mills went on to claim that she was told she would “never make it ” in show business and concluded her post by reminding Halle that she is “so proud” of her accomplishments.
Stephanie Mills said: “They told me I would never make it on Broadway, they told me I couldn’t sing, they told me I was too dark, I have watched and listened to “they” try to tell you why you shouldn’t and couldn’t. I am so proud of you and how you handled all the naysayers. We have never met, however I have been in your shoes.”