In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy and interview special guest Mel B. Melanie Brown has never been a shy one, which is evidenced by her vast and ever-expanding list of accomplishments. Best known as Mel B or “Scary Spice” of the Spice Girls, she can also add author, fashion leader, television personality, stage star, philanthropist, entrepreneur and mom to her list of ever expanding credits.
From her early days growing up in Leeds, England, through her years in one of the most defining pop groups of this generation, and through such ventures as becoming a fan favorite on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, Mel B has earned her place in the entertainment lexicon. Doing the show earned her a vast and new American fan base with her cool, self-confident dancing style, finishing second in the contest. Mel B is always striving to do something different and always doing with a style that’s all her own.
Currently, Mel B is working diligently on season 8 of the hit NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” joining fellow judges Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and host Nick Cannon. As she says, “I take this judging business very seriously.”
Mel B launched her solo career in 1998 with the hit single “I Want You Back,” (featuring Missy Elliott) and marked the first time an individual Spice Girl went to #1 on the U.K. charts. Mel recalls, “This was the first time I’d even considered doing anything by myself. I was on tour with the Spice Girls when Missy Elliott called me up and said ‘Melanie, I’ve got a song for you, will you come and record it with me?’ I checked it with the girls and within a month I was out there, I recorded it in a day, did the video, then came back. She’s a genius!”
Mel B’s brash persona was at the core of the Spice Girls’ global success, racking up worldwide record sales of $55 million, Guinness Book World Records for “Most No. 1 Entries in the UK Charts” and “Most Consecutive No. 1’s for a New Act.” The group’s enduring popularity brought about one of the most successful concert tours of 2007-08 with the reunion trek grossing more than $70 million. The Spice Girls long awaited reunion took place in London at the 2012 XXX Olympic closing ceremony bringing the house down to the 80,000 in attendance and the millions watching around the world.
The British phenomenon’s worldwide acclaim has served Mel B well in a wide variety of ventures. On Broadway at the famed Nederlander Theatre, she starred as “Mimi” in a major production of “Rent” (2004) and also appeared in “The Vagina Monologues” (2002) at the New Ambassador Theatre in London. On the small screen, she hosted the 2008 “Miss Universe Pageant” and has appeared as a special correspondent for the NBC entertainment news shows, “Access Hollywood” and “EXTRA.”
Along the way, she has written a best-selling autobiography “Catch a Fire,” and starred in the wildly popular British soap, “Burn It” on the BBC. Film roles have included “Telling Lies” (2008), “Seat Filler” (2004), LD 50″ (2003) and the inspiring documentary “Mel B: Voodoo Princess (2002) shot in Benin, off the tip of Africa.
Mel B’s career has been based on inspiring people to leave behind their inhibitions and tackle anything and everything that comes their way. She says, “It’s all about feeling confident, listening to yourself, trusting yourself and being in your own power. And that’s what I’m all about.”
She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Stephan Belafonte and daughters Phoenix, Angel, Madison and stepdaughter Giselle.
This interview was recorded November 27th, 2013.