Music icon @MaryJBlige lends film a helping hand

July 13, 2011

Music icon Mary J. Blige is lending her voice, star power and passion to promoting a movie that could become a contender at next year’s Academy Awards.

The 10-time Grammy-winning artist sings and composed the end-credit track, “The Living Proof,” for “The Help,” a poignant drama about the courageous life of Black maids in 1960’s Mississippi.

Based on the best-selling book by Kathryn Stockett, the movie is written and directed by Tate Taylor and stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Ahead of next month’s nationwide release of the film, Blige took part in last weekend’s press junket in Beverly Hills and performed the song at a glitzy cocktail party Saturday night in a ballroom suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

“I didn’t read the book, but I was approached by the head of film and TV at the label and they asked me if I wanted to write a song for the film,” said Blige, adding “then I went to a screening of the film.”

“I cried like a baby. I got pissed [and] I laughed so hard. Then, by the end, I was encouraged and I was inspired by how  smart Aibileen [Viola Davis’ character] was.”

Acknowledging that this is an especially painful time period to re-create, Blige said she appreciates that the film gives a voice to a group of people who were rarely heard from.

“The courage of these women is what needs to be told,” she said.  “It’s the courage we all need to have even now in a lot of situations. It’s women speaking to save another generation or that generation. [That’s] something I’ve done in my career.”

Asked if there were any Aibileen’s in her family, Blige laughed emphatically.

“I’m an Aibileen. My aunt is an Aibileen. Every woman I know is an Aibileen that’s here to tell a story. I believe she and Minny [Octavia Spencer’s character] were survivors.”

In terms of the song writing process for film, Blige noted that it’s pretty much the same
“You just take something that moves you and the song comes from that. The performances are real. You have to live out every moment to make people feel it.”

Photo: Mary J. Blige performed her song "The Living Proof," from the movie "The Help," at The Beverly Wilshire July 9. Credit: Olu Alemoru



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