You could say this is Mary J. Blige’s second life.
Her first, candidly chronicled on her confessions-of-a-wreck album My Life, was an early glimpse into one of the biggest singing superstars in the world, who not only went public with her pain but eventually overcame it. My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1) is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul 17 years later, after releasing nine other studio albums, taking home just as many Grammys and becoming, as she now calls herself, “the living proof.” That’s also the title of a song on her latest release, originally recorded for The Help, that nabbed her a Golden Globe nomination this year.
In a recent chat, Blige let us in on her Life, how she became aware of her gay following and – when asked about pal P. Diddy’s “faggot” controversy – why she thinks “people should be careful with their words.”
Your middle initial isn’t visible on the album cover. Is there significance to that? Does that symbolize a new era in Mary J. Blige’s life?
Nah. Just didn’t have any space for it! (Laughs) I’m in the middle of the picture and the J is in the middle of the thing, so it’s like, where we gonna put it? But no, I’m not ever dropping the J. That’s my name.
The hair is the problem, then.
Yeah, exactly! That’s what happened. (Laughs)