Mary J. Blige speaks on overcoming struggles with self-love: ‘I’m living now for Mary’

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul talks with theGrio’s Natasha S. Alford about self-love, Black women’s progress, and Black entrepreneurship

Following the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, theGrio hosted “A Seat at the Table,” an afterparty geared toward uplifting Black media professionals and honoring theGrio’s April Ryan, the longest-serving Black female White House correspondent.

Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and actor, Mary J. Blige ended the night with a six-song performance. After her throwback-filled show, she sat down with theGrio’s Natasha S. Alford.

Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige speaks during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Press Conference at Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Throughout her life, Blige has had to overcome many obstacles.

“There was a time in my life when I didn’t believe in myself and I didn’t love myself,” she told theGrio. But, now, I love myself and I believe in myself more than anybody.” The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul draws inspiration from her resilience, from not being afraid of what people have to say, and the pride she takes in her journey thus far.

“That’s what inspires me,” she said. “Giving that honor to God and continuing to get all the strength and love from him and keep pushing myself forward, so that’s why I’m living. I’m living now for Mary.”

Strength Of A Woman Festival
Mary J. Blige attends Strength Of A Woman Festival (Getty)

Women around the world are prioritizing their mental health while breaking down barriers in various industries. Black women, especially, are making progress and reclaiming their voices. Blige told theGrio she believes the advancement of Black women is “extremely important,” since they have been forced into the background for a long time.

The Black community is entering a new era of innovation, ownership, and growth and Blige says that Black entrepreneurs create a lasting legacy.

“People need to see us in this light, in a stronger light: owning things, owning a business, and in the front line of it,” she said. “It’s just amazing to see us.”

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Kayla Grant is a cross-topic multimedia journalist who is pursuing her Master of Science in Journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to being featured in theGrio, the Clark Atlanta University alumna’s words are published in Poynter Institute’s HBCU Voter Guide, Oz Magazine, iPondr, Prism, rolling out and the Atlanta Business Journal. Follow her on Twitter: @TheKaylaGrant.