This Day in Black History: Dec. 7, 1996

Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart” began an 11-week run at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.

Posted: 12/07/2013 12:15 AM EST

Toni Braxton is a music legend who, in her heyday, was one of the most popular and most commercially successful R&B singers in the 1990s. Her hit single, "Un-break My Heart," ranks among the longest-running number one pop hits of that period. It had an 11-week run at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 that began on Dec. 7, 1996.

Braxton was soulful enough for R&B audiences, but smooth enough for adult contemporary. With such broad appeal, Braxton managed to record two albums that sold more than 8 million copies.

Braxton was born in Severn, Maryland, in 1967. The daughter of a minister, she was raised mostly in the strict Apostolic faith, which prohibited not only all popular culture, but also women wearing pants in church. Encouraged by their mother, an operatically trained vocalist, Braxton and her four sisters began singing in church as girls. They would go on to become a group known as The Braxtons.

Before long, she would go out on her own and became the first female artist signed to the label formed by L.A. Reid and Babyface. Her first solo song, "Love Shoulda Brought You Home," became a substantial pop and R&B hit as did many of her singles.

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 (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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