Who is Mandla Morris?
Mandla Kadjay Carl Stevland Morris is a young television personality who was a contestant on the first season of the reality competition show ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’. He became a participant in the competition for being the son of the legendary Motown singer and multi-instrumentalist, Stevie Wonder, and his second wife, fashion designer Kai Millard Morris. Mandla has an older brother named Kailand. Through his father, Mandla has seven half-siblings. His parents tied the knot in 2001 and were married for over a decade before divorcing in 2012. Partnered with Brightyn Brems and mentored by Cheryl Burke, Mandla finished ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ at the eighth place. In 2018, he made his film debut in the romance drama, ‘A Star is Born’.
Mandla participated in ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ a spin-off of the series ‘Dancing with the Stars’ that focuses on child celebrities. The first season of the show aired from October 7, 2018, to 9 December. Besides Mandla, MasterChef Junior (4th season) winner Addison Osta Smith, Sarah Palin’s grandson Tripp Johnston Palin, ‘General Hospital’ actor Hudson West, Scottie Pippen's daughter Sophia Pippen, and ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ star Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson were among the young celebrities who took part in the show.
Mandla was paired up with the competitive dancer and Utah native Brightyn Brems. Cheryl Burke, who won ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in two consecutive seasons (second and third), served as their mentor. In the first week, Mandla and Burke performed jive to Chris Kenner’s ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’. After surviving the first cut, they performed salsa to The Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Pump It’. The judges liked their performance and they survived that week as well. In the ensuing weeks, they performed jazz to Gael García Bernal and Anthony Gonzalez’s ‘Un Poco Loco’, Charleston to Cartoons’ ‘Witch Doctor’, cha-cha-cha to Bruno Mars’ ‘Perm’, and foxtrot to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s ‘Ain't No Mountain High Enough’. On week seven, they performed pasodoble to 2WEI’s ‘Gangsta's Paradise’ and were eliminated.
Mandla made his film debut in ‘A Star is Born’ (2018). Produced and directed by Bradley Cooper, the film is a remake of the 1937 film of the same name (directed by William A. Wellman and starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March). The story has been remade in Hollywood two more times, in 1954 (directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland and James Mason) and in 1976 (directed by Frank Pierson and starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson). Cooper also stars in the film, portraying the character of Jackson "Jack" Maine. The cast also includes Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, and Sam Elliott. Mandla made a cameo appearance in the film.
Mandla has aspirations of following in his father’s footsteps into the world of music someday. He has been playing the piano since he was nine years old.
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Personal Life & Family
Mandla was born on Wonder’s 55th birthday, on May 13, 2005, in the United States of America. In Zulu language, Mandla stands for “Powerful” or “Defiant” while Kadjaly is “Born from God” in Swahili. He is his father’s seventh child.
Stevie Wonder, whose birth name is Stevland Hardaway Morris, was a prodigy as a young boy. When he was 11 years old, he signed a contract with Motown's Tamla label, for who he has performed and recorded into the 2010s. He has put out over 30 US top ten hits and earned 25 Grammys. More than 100 million copies of his records have been sold worldwide. He is also a prominent political activist. In 1980, he was part of the campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday in America. The United Nations honoured him in 2009 by naming him a UN Messenger of Peace.
Over the course of his life, Wonder has become the father of nine children with five women. He has married three times. His first wife was Motown singer-songwriter and frequent collaborator Syreeta Wright. Their marriage lasted from 1970 to 1972, when they filed for an amicable divorce. Wonder’s first child is a daughter named Aisha Morris (born February 2, 1975), whose mother is Yolanda Simmons. In 1983, his second child, a son named Mumtaz Morris was born to Melody McCulley. He is also the father of daughter Sophia and son Kwame. Their mother’s name is yet to be disclosed. In 2001, Wonder married Kai Millard and Kailand was born in September 2001. The couple divorced in 2012.
Wonder has two children with his third wife Tomeeka Bracy, whom he married in 2017. While their eldest child’s identity is not known, the youngest is a daughter named Nia.