Singer Mary J. Blige aka MJB has been much buzzed about for years, but especially in the past couple of weeks. It seems as if Blige’s life is one huge ongoing roller coast ride complete with jaw-dropping highs and lows, but VH1 is “Team Mary” all the way and we just want her to take a page from her own songbook and “be happy!” If anyone can get through this storm we know that our girl Mary can. VH1 caught up with Blige recently during a New York City tour stop as part of her “Strength of A Woman Tour” and we were blown away by how raw, real and absolutely rocking she was. When Blige performs, she leaves it all onstage and makes a lasting impression. That’s just one reason why we think she is EVERYTHING. Through the highs and the lows, it’s all love for the iconic singer who we’ve got nothing but love for. In fact, here’s five reasons why we love Mary J. Blige:
She Always Comes Correct with the 411Courtesy of Antoine DeBrill
The theme of Blige’s latest tour, dubbed “Strength of A Woman Tour” is love – specifically love of self. Blige makes her intentions very clear even before she comes out on stage, with graphics and sound bites that set the tone for the show. She’s not side-stepping the business of breaking up, again, and all of the pain that comes along with that, but as she acknowledges her pain she offers women a way up and out of it. “You gotta love yourself before you love somebody else,” is the message she shares at the very top of her show, and for some reason when Blige utters those words, they feel like they are coming from a dear friend who’s got your back—your ride or die for life. With everything going on in the world today, Blige’s message of self-love and strength is even more pertinent and powerful, and because she’s dealing with her own personal pain the message hits home even harder, because you know she’s been through some things and is the same as all of us. Despite the celebrity and the fame, she’s human, and she understands what it’s like to love hard and lose big.
She Got It Going On!Courtesy of Antoine DeBrill
Blige stands easily among a short list of fly women in the world of entertainment who give us goose gumps because they are over 40 and just as fine and fit as they want to be (think J. Lo, Angela Bassett, Janet Jackson, Halle Berry…) Blige has always had the swag and style that made her stand out from the rest, and that around-the-way-girl vibe that she possesses has endeared her to millions since the release of her very first album, “What’s the 411,” back in 1992. This latest tour proves to all of the doubters that even though she’s older, without question Mary J. Blige has still got it going on! Come on now, leather shorts with knee-high boots and lace bodysuit tops, cut-off denim shorts, wide-brim hats, designer duster jackets with sunglasses to match?! Blige’s swag is in overdrive right now, as it should be and we love her for that! Because you know what they say – when someone breaks your heart, you gotta get even more gorgeous so you can show them exactly what they’ve lost.
She Brings Us JoyCourtesy of Antoine DeBrill
How many of us know just how funny Mary J. Blige really is?! Being able to laugh at yourself is truly a wonderful attribute, and Blige cracks us up to no end with her off-the-wall commentary. A night out with MJB is like hanging with one of your good girlfriends, who will shock you with some crazy talk and then have you both cracking up about it. Speaking of crazy, Blige considers herself one among them, and she has no shame in her game about it – she owns her stuff! Her query to the audience, “Ya’ll know I’m crazy right?” brought laughter to the crowd, because the truth is we all have a little crazy in us and it’s just nice sometimes to be able to let your guard down and be who you are. Seeing Blige secure in who she is and owning her s*&t makes you happy and hopeful that you can do the same and still be loved and accepted for it.
She Knows How to Get Down and Stay DownCourtesy of Antoine DeBrill
Mary J. Blige is known for her “off the wall” dance moves probably just as much as her singing, and she does not disappoint on this tour. Blige turned her pain into a party right before our very eyes as she declared that at the end of day, she’s “fine, fine, fine” and broke out into some signature moves. You know the one where it looks like she has an imaginary drink in her hand and she’s just stepping and dipping and diving like only she can, like nobody’s watching and even if they were she wouldn’t give a good damn because she’s just enjoying herself? At one point in the show Blige “fell” down, literally dropping to the floor of the stage and lying there flat out for a few seconds, something you might see in church when the spirit takes over. Watching MJB in concert is like having a spiritual experience, because she taps into a sacred and soulful place when she performs. It’s this ability to take it there that’s taken Blige to top and allowed her to stay there for over 25 years. You go, Mary!
She Treats Her Fans Like FamilyCourtesy of Antoine DeBrill
It’s not unusual for an artist to thank their fans for the support, but when Mary does it, it just makes you want to cry and give her a hug, don’t it? Although she declared during her show that she “will never in life call another human being her everything,” because that’s too much power, Blige did intimate that her fans are her everything and have kept her going all these years (along with God) through the dark and dismal times in her life. And that’s what family does, hold you down until the very end, right? Well, Blige has not reached her end game, and although she shared that she has not been lucky in love, she showed great appreciation for her fans, who she loves like family. “Ya’ll gonna make me cry before I even get anywhere,” Blige gushed at one point during her show, but it was all love as she bared her heart and soul and received that same love in return as the crowd screamed, “Go Mary, go Mary!” countless times. That, in essence, is the beauty of Mary J. Blige – she gives her all and makes you want to give her your everything in return.
Mary J. Blige gives a heart warming speech honoring her mother Cora Blige, and shares how she raised her to be a strong woman on Dear Mama.