Growing pains for Mary J Blige

November 27, 2010

Mary J. Blige has learned to embrace and be inspired by her own survival story.

MARY J. Blige beat the street.

Blige was raised in the projects in Yonkers, New York, and overcame poverty, abuse, self-esteem issues and drug and alcohol dependence.

She also claims to have suffered physical beatings from former boyfriend, singer K-Ci Hailey.

Her first album, What's The 411?, a sly amalgam of hip-hop beats and melodic soul, overseen by Sean Combs (before he was Puff Daddy), sparked a generation of imitators.

Blige's next album, My Life, was the first of her confessional records.

She is also the co-founder of an organisation for the advancement of women.

She says:

I used to think I was ugly.

I thought I looked like a camel. A person who doesn't love themselves, they will see anything that pops up on their face. I've seen squirrels, I've seen a bird, I've seen all kinds of animals on my face. But that is the result of self-hate. I've learned to say: "You know what? I am a beautiful black woman."

My music comes from a place of where I am in life.

It's from that perspective the ups, the downs, the good times, the bad times, the triumphs and victorious times, the trials and tribulations. Life is about life, man. If you're not dead, you're going through all the motions. It's about a learning and growth continuum.

My second album, My Life, was a letter on wax that said: "I'm suffering."

And four million people men and women responded by saying: "Me, too."

My first album, What's The 411?, is my first baby.

I love that album. At the time it didn't feel like anything special. I was in the moment.

Puff and I are so much alike.

But he was very smart and could always foresee things things that were going to be successful.

I was on the shelf for a long time.

Back then, it was about Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. I was street. But the record company wasn't going to release me. They shelved me. Puff saw something in me and put together an album that proved everybody wrong.

I wasn't the first to sing over hip-hop beats.

Soul II Soul were. When we did it, there was a generation listening to us.

I beat alcohol dependence and drug addiction.

A lot happened to me during my childhood. As I got older, these things resurfaced. In order to deal with it and in order to cope without it hurting so bad, I drowned it in alcohol and drugs. It lessened the pain for that moment. I started at 16 years old. By the time I got into the music business, it was bigger than me.

I overcame an abusive relationship by learning to love myself.

When you realise people are going to treat you the way you treat yourself, you begin to treat yourself better.

I understood what Rihanna went through with Chris Brown.

I don't want to comment on it. But I know exactly what they were both going through.

I got my GED (certificate for high school level education) this year.

That means so much to me. It is important to know that you're educated.

My foundation gives women a second chance.

It's a one-stop shop to educate, empower and encourage women. We've sent 25 women to college already. It doesn't only embrace the downtrodden, it also encourages the woman who comes in with a hopeful story.

I think Lady Gaga is a genius.

I think every woman, every artist, is doing the best at what they know. That's why it's working.

Raggamuffin Festival (Mary J. Blige, Jimmy Cliff, Maxi Priest, Sean Paul and more) Melbourne Showgrounds, January 29. Book it: 13 61 00.


Anonymous at: November 29, 2010 at 1:47 PM said...

Good article but lots of typo's, use spell check next time! Or get your GED!

Post a Comment


477 loyal readers
RSS feed | E-mail