The New York Post interviews Mary J. Blige

April 28, 2011

Sunday, Hammerstein Ballroom, is Mary J. Blige's annual concert for the advancement of women. "I've sent 25 ladies to colleges like Penn State, Virginia State, Syracuse," she told me. "I'm into education, empowerment, employment. I opened the Mary J. Blige Center in Yonkers. 

"This started due to my own terrible childhood. I've seen abuse. I know self-hatred and how, if a boyfriend hurts them, they don't feel good about themselves. 
"I understand these people. I've lived that life. I was without self-esteem. I've been through this. Saw my own mom suffer. Seen nice women with blackened eyes. Heard people tell them they're dumb. I'm building them confidence. Getting them better jobs. It's sad to watch, but eventually they will get to the other side."
As for caring for her own self, it's: 

"Humidifier. No air-conditioner on show day. Drink lots of water. Wear neck scarves. Do warmups. Don't yell at anybody. My voice coach gives me a CD, so I practice those lessons before I go onstage. The throat gets tired. You get hoarse. There's reflux. Sleeping, you burn up your vocal chord. You must care about that. It's a muscle. It needs fine tuning. 

"See, you've got to be the best. I want to be the best. 
"There is no trick. It's the same hard
work with these women I'm helping. Going through pain of feeling bad about themselves, they can learn about God. He's real. They're His child. Because He loves them, they can have all that's meant for them.
"You need a support system. You have to believe in yourself. You must look in the mirror and say aloud to yourself: 'I love you.' That's how I made progress -- and so will they."


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