As Mary J. Blige gets set to perform on VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul (airing Mon., Dec. 19 at 9PM EST), we’ve been wondering why the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is so universally loved. We’d guess it partially has to do with Mary J. practicing what she preaches in her hit “My Life.” The lyrics, in case you’ve forgotten:
When you’re feelin down
You should never fake it
Say what’s on your mind
And you’ll find in time
That all the negative energy
It would all cease
Mary has always been unafraid to speak her mind, both in her music and to the press. She’s open about her personal struggles and pain, and this feels refreshing in an age when many celebs seem muzzled as part of image campaigns. In other words, Mary J. is always Mary J. She’s moved from a rough life in a Yonkers housing project to A-list mega-star who hangs out at Vanity Fair Oscar parties — all the while retaining impeccable street cred. We usually arrange our Top Hottest Looks photos from least to most hot. But with this feature we’ve arranged them in chronological order. You’ll notice that Mary J. has had a dramatic style metamorphosis over the years. As her fame has grown, it seems her style savvy and number of stylists has too.
Catch VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul Monday, Dec. 19 at 9PM EST. The lineup includes Mary J. Blige, plus Jennifer Hudson, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and many others.