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Culture

In Conversation with Mary J. Blige

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Mary J. Blige has developed a legacy of her own during her 30 years in the industry, earning herself the rightful title of Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and the Queen of R&B for her powerful voice and the ability to blend hip-hop and R&B. Blige has consistently pushed the envelope through her music and has been able to shift the perception of how Black women are portrayed in pop culture.

The release of her early albums “What’s the 411?” and “My Life” helped revolutionize the genre and blazed a trail for female performers to follow in her steps. Since the inception of her career, Blige has used her music to tell candid stories of family struggles, love, and pain, encouraging women to embrace their power.

Blige became an icon in her own right, representing women like her in a way that nobody was able to do before her.

At what moment did you realize you were blessed with a voice to sing?  Did you ever sing in the church choir?

I knew I could sing at 7 years old. Yes, I sang in church as a little girl as well.

What advice would you give to a new and aspiring artist to break through the industry with tremendous success and longevity?

The advice I would give to new and aspiring artists to break through the industry would be to keep God first, believe in yourself, be honest with yourself, work hard and treat people kind. 

You are now in the winery business with a collaboration with Fantinel Winery. How did the name Sun Goddess come about for your new Pinot Grigio? 

My sister gave me that name because I can stay in the sun a little longer than she and I always loved the sun. Wine is similar to the sun to me because it makes you smile which changes your mood and warms your body. 

What is your next film coming out? Next album? What are you currently working on? 

The next film that is coming out is “Respect” starring Jennifer Hudson which is about a time in Aretha Franklin’s life. I play Dinah Washington. I am currently working on Power Book II: Ghost on Starz which we are gearing up to start production on Season 2. Also working on building my Film & TV production company, Blue Butterfly and of course I am working on new music which will be coming soon.

What inspires you?

Everyday life inspires me. Trials, triumph & living life to the fullest. 

What have you learned most about yourself?

I learned how to love myself better than I have before. I learned that it’s a process and loving myself every day is an ongoing process. 

During this global shift, what has been your self-care nécessités?

My self-care nécessité has been taking long baths, prayer, meditation, and really good clean eating.

Photographer Credit: Robert Ector

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