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Black History Month First: Toni Braxton

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R&B and Superstar/Living Legend Toni Braxton was rocketed into superstardom after the debut album and she is one of the great women we are honoring today.  LA Reid stated during an interview with VH1: “We called her the first lady of LaFace. She was our Diva. Clive had Whitney, Tommy had Mariah and we had Toni.”Over the span of her career Braxton has sold over 66 million records,including 40 million albums, worldwide. Braxton’s musical catalog contains many classics that have won her many accolades.  Braxton is a recipient of seven Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and nine Billboard Music Awards.

Braxton has appeared in two Disney Broadway shows: She made her Broadway debut as Belle in Beauty and the Beast beginning September 9, 1998 when she replaced Kim Huber. During her run in the show Alan Menken wrote and composed a new song for the musical, titled “A Change in Me”, which he specially wrote and composed for Braxton, and was still being used in the musical as of late July 2014. She left the production on February 28, 1999 and was succeeded by Andrea McArdle. Her role in Beauty and the Beast marked the first (and only) time a black woman commanded the leading role of Belle on Broadway. (In the UK, Michelle Gayle played the role in the West End.) It also marked the first time a black woman would star in a Disney musical on Broadway.


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