Mary J. Blige is final act for 2011 Essence Fest

July 4, 2011
From the start of her show until the end, fans were on their feet, dancing and moving to classic Blige hits like "I Am," ''Not Gon' Cry," and "Just Fine."

"She was awesome," said Gill Davidson, who was at the festival with his brother, Glenn Davidson, both of Washington, D.C. "She is just so real. Her songs are so related to her own trials and tribulations in her life that we can relate to her or we know someone who has been through similar situations."

Glenn Davidson said he admired Blige's professionalism on stage.

"What she brings to her craft is mighty," he said. "She works real hard and she puts that love and energy into every note and move she does. She leaves it all out there on stage and as a fan, I appreciate that."

Blige also showed her appreciation for her fans. At one point in her set, the crowd sang the lyrics to "Sweet Thing" and "I'm Going Down" as she watched from the stage, with a smile on her face.

"Man, I love y'all so much," she exclaimed. "Essence is the only play in the world to be for the 4th of July. Y'all sound so good," she said.

After a particularly gut-wrenching, heartfelt rendition of "No More Drama," Blige thanked the die-hard fans who've stuck by her through her rocky career.

"Thank you so much for having faith in me, for buying my records when nobody cared. I love you so much," she said, amid applause.



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