Connie Mizell Perry was born and raised in North Carolina, where she graduated from HS at the age of 16. Coming from an area in the south that was predominantly farming land, with little to no jobs, Connie wanted more for her life. Just 17 years of age, a good friend who was going to live with her sister in New York City invited Connie along; she accepted the friends offer and they moved to St. Albans, New York. Just six months after arriving in New York City, Connie gave birth to her first son, Marvin. Shortly after Marvin’s birth, he was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, an inherited blood disorder; during that time there was not a lot of information on sickle-cell, Connie knew nothing about it - but managed to care for her son as he battled the disorder throughout his life.
Four years later Connie gave birth to her second child, a girl whom she named Nita. One day after her son Marvin returned home from a cub’s scout meeting, he announced to his mom that he would not be going back because she never came to his meetings, and that all the other mother’s were attending. No one could imagine that Marvin’s statement to his mom would change the course of music history forever.
Connie attended the meeting, only to find out that the other mothers had never come. But that day she met Cub Master Jesse Mizell, who she later married and then gave birth to Jason Mizell AKA Jam Master Jay. Jason was in the third grade when the family purchased their first home in Hollis, Queens, where he grew up and ultimately became the DJ for the hip-hop iconic group Run DMC. Connie bought Jason his first and second set of turntables.
When asked “when did she realize her son was gifted?” Her response, “I knew Jason was special when he asked to join the church choir at five years old, sang lead and did an amazing job, that’s when I knew.”
Connie Mizell graduated college in 1982 from Adelphi University with a Master’s Degree in Education, ultimately becoming a teacher with the New York City Board of Education. Jason and his friends were allowed to practice and hone their music skills in the Mizell’s home, which became home-base to the group and provided them with a foundation. Connie got use to the group’s loud music, and found herself not being able to study without it. During an awards ceremony for Run DMC, group member Rev Run stated “She never told us to turn the music down, not once!”
Currently, Connie Mizell is retired living back in North Carolina. She is an avid churchgoer and a missionary who is active in community service.