Mary J. Blige
Singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, actress
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and occasional actress. She is a recipient of nine Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, and has recorded eight multi-platinum albums. She is the only artist with Grammy Award wins in Pop, Rap, Gospel, and R&B. Blige is a mezzo-soprano. Blige started her musical career in 1992, releasing her debut album, What's the 411? on MCA Records and Uptown. With her tenth album, My Life II...
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The Strange Story Of The Time Donald Trump Got To Hold An Oscar
Huffington Post - about 24 hours
The annual Vanity Fair Oscars party is perennially a destination for the A-listers of Hollywood in any given year, and 2005 was no exception. Tom Cruise entered the venue ― the since-closed restaurant Mortons ― through a back entrance after riding over on his black Ducati motorcycle. Beyoncé and Jay Z hung out at a back table with Usher, Gwen Stefani and Mary J. Blige. Tom Brady apparently was the only one wearing a white tie at the party, but GQ remarked he was “proportioned like the Oscar statuette.” Jake Gyllenhaal (with a shaved head presumably for “Jarhead”) made conversation near a wall as his sister, Maggie, posed for a photograph a few feet away. “Everybody you can read about in every single gossip rag is in there!” Destiny Child’s Kelly Rowland told People outside the party. And perhaps surprisingly, many of these “gossip rag” stars from Vanity Fair’s party in 2005 are just as relevant now, if not more so. This is no more true than with Donald Trump, who attended th ...
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Huffington Post article
Joni Mitchell and Mary J. Blige made this pre-Grammy gala come alive
LATimes - 12 days
Emotions ran higher than usual Saturday night at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala, and not just because the stars in attendance were venting their frustrations with an unpopular new president. The veteran record executive’s annual party at the Beverly Hilton is known as a marathon of music-business...
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LATimes article
Between The Oscars And Sundance, It's A Promising Year For Inclusiveness In Hollywood
Huffington Post - 21 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); You can be highbrow. You can be lowbrow. But can you ever just be brow? Welcome to Middlebrow, a weekly examination of pop culture. January is an interesting time for movies. Amid a wasteland of new releases, the Oscar nominations celebrate the previous year’s so-called prestige cinema. Meanwhile, recurring statistics prove a horde of mostly white men ruled the box office, again. Then the Sundance Film Festival ushers in the upcoming year’s indie crop, ...
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Huffington Post article
Twitter Offers Glimpse Into Soul Of Sean Spicer
Huffington Post - about 1 month
No question, nyc bagels are like no other — Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) December 8, 2012 Sean Spicer became a household name yesterday when he attacked the media for their lack of "facts" regarding President Trump's inauguration attendance. While mostly political, rare tweets from Twitter account @seanspicer offer a glimpse into his soul. Here's what I learned from the tweets of the current White House Press Secretary and Communications Director for President Donald Trump: Sean just wants followers, is ready for Christmas music in October, but loves a last minute holiday deal. He wonders if the purchase is even worth it when he sees how long the checkout line is. Sean cracks jokes and loves bbq sauce. He fangirls over Missy Franklin, watches Matt Lauer on TODAY and mourns celebrities celebrities on Twitter. He thinks Pauly Shore is "random" and staying home to cook can save money. He's felt like the oldest person at the z100 Jingle Ball, maybe that's why he loves to turn a ...
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Huffington Post article
George Michael Was Working On A Documentary Prior To His Death
Huffington Post - about 2 months
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); George Michael had been working on a documentary in the weeks leading up to his death, according to his official website and social accounts. An Instagram post from November revealed that Michael was “busy putting the finishing touches to his special documentary film” called “Freedom.” The caption noted: “He has discovered some incredible, unseen archive footage and is shooting additional interviews for the project so the film will now air in March 2017. It pr ...
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Huffington Post article
WATCH: 'GMA' Hot List: Mary J. Blige and Ali Wentworth Visit Times Square
ABC News - 3 months
The singer opens up about her divorce and the comedienne dishes on her new show in today's 60-second hot list.
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ABC News article
Mary J. Blige and Maxwell at the Garden
NYTimes - 4 months
These R&B stalwarts tap the emotional well as they bring their “King and Queen of Hearts Tour” to New York.
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NYTimes article
One Of The Other Most Important Dr. Dre Facts Missing From Straight Outta Compton
Huffington Post - 4 months
After witnessing Dr. Dre working in the studio for many years I would have to say that one of most important facts missing from the NWA movie is not just aspects of Dre's personal and political life and vision, but a clear description of the high level of sonic mastery and expertise that he has exhibited and presented to the world for the past 30 years. When Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin presented Def Jam's hip hop productions to the world with classics by Run-DMC, LL Kool J and Beastie Boys, they brought not only productions that had dynamic and socially relevant songs to the world, but also a level of sonic excellence that was achieved by bringing top musicians and mixing engineers into the studio to engineer and fine tune those sound recordings. The difference between Dr. Dre and most producers is that when most producers get to a level where they feel they have the songs strong enough, they then bring in top level Grammy award winning mixing engineers like Manny Maroquin, Ser ...
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Huffington Post article
Mary J. Blige Gave Viola Davis A Sew-In On TV And It Was Historic
Huffington Post - 4 months
Something monumental happened on Thursday night when Shonda Rhimes decided to bring the dancery to “How To Get Away With Murder.” Mary J. Blige installed Viola Davis’ tracks. Davis’ character, Annalise Keating, sat in Blige’s chair and had a real life black hair salon moment. While Blige laid Keating’s weave, the lawyer was clearly distracted by the scandalous situations in her life. The ladies of the shop saw Keating was in a funk and they offered her a good old venting session about her friend with benefits, officer Nate. One stylists, played by Paula Jai Parker, eagerly asked Keating if the relationship drama meant Keating was done with him, insinuating that she was next in line for his “fine ass.” Like clockwork, Blige chimed in and said, “Here she go, queen of thotland.” In between relationship advice, the ladies let the jokes fly, calling each other “heifah” and “sloppy.” The resident downtrodden bootlegger even made an appearance, busting in the s ...
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Huffington Post article
Hairstylist to the stars steps into the spotlight with the launch of namesake hair-care brand on HSN
LATimes - 5 months
Kim Kimble, the hairstylist behind some of the most famous manes in music, film and television (she can name drop Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Shakira and Taraji P. Henson), isn’t afraid to step into the spotlight herself. And she’s doing it again this month with the launch of her...
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LATimes article
Hairstylist to the stars steps into the spotlight with the launch of namesake hair-care brand on HSN
LATimes - 5 months
Kim Kimble, the hairstylist behind some of the most famous manes in music, film and television (she can name drop Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Shakira and Taraji P. Henson), isn’t afraid to step into the spotlight herself. And she’s doing it again this month with the launch of her...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Hairstylist to the stars steps into the spotlight with the launch of namesake hair-care brand on HSN
LATimes - 5 months
Kim Kimble, the hairstylist behind some of the most famous manes in music, film and television (she can name drop Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Shakira and Taraji P. Henson), isn’t afraid to step into the spotlight herself. And she’s doing it again this month with the launch of her...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mary J. Blige
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    In July 2016, Blige filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences".
    More Details Hide Details The couple had no children together. In 2004, Blige launched her own record label, Matriarch Records, distributed through Interscope, and in mid-2012, discovered girl group Just'Us, making the group the first ladies of the label. Blige says "These are my little Mary’s; they each remind me of myself at different points in my life." Blige has been reported to be working with Just'Us on their debut album. In July 2010, Blige launched her first perfume, My Life (through Carol's Daughter), exclusively on HSN. The fragrance's success broke sales records in hours and has been awarded two prestigious FIFI awards from the Fragrance Foundation. The newest fragrance, My Life Blossom launched in August 2011 exclusively to HSN. In October 2010 Blige released a line of sunglasses called "Melodies by MJB". The first Melodies collection featured four styles with a total of 20 color options. Each style represented a specific facet of Blige’s life. Essence magazine reported that in the spring of 2011, "Melodies by MJB" extended their collection to offer more styles.
    Blige later dropped out of the role due to financial issues and the role has since been recast controversially with Dominican American actress Zoe Saldana as Simome in Nina that is due for release in the spring of 2016.
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  • 2015
    In December 2015, she portrayed Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West in NBC's The Wiz Live!
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  • 2014
    Following her concert date at the Essence Festival, on July 9, 2014 it was announced Blige would move to London to experiment with a new sound for her new album.
    More Details Hide Details Blige spent a month in London recording her album in RAK Studios with a host of young British acts, including Disclosure, Naughty Boy, Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith. Ten new songs, co-written and recorded by the singer, was released on November 24, 2014 on an album entitled, The London Sessions. That same month, she announced that she left Geffen and Interscope and signed with Capitol Records.
    June 2, 2014 saw Blige pairing up with another English musician with the release of a re-worked version of Sam Smith's "Stay with Me".
    More Details Hide Details A live visual to the song was released on the same day.
  • 2013
    On October 23, 2013, Blige sang the national anthem before Game 1 of the 2013 World Series.
    More Details Hide Details On February 5, 2014 a remix of Disclosure's "F for You" featuring guest vocals from Mary was released. It was announced May 30, 2014 that Think Like a Man Too (Music from and Inspired by the Film), released June 17 on Epic Records, would introduce new songs by Mary J. Blige, including the single "Suitcase". Blige recorded a collection of music from and inspired by the film. In the United States, Think Like a Man Too debuted at number 30 on the Billboard 200, with 8,688 copies sold in its first week, becoming the lowest sales debut of any of her studio albums. On Billboards R&B/Hip-Hop chart, the soundtrack album charted at number six, marking Blige's 16th top ten entry on the chart, tying her with Mariah Carey for the second-most top tens by a female artist.
    The album, titled, A Mary Christmas was released on October 15, 2013 through Matriarch and Verve Records, her first release with the latter.
    More Details Hide Details The album includes collaborations with Barbra Streisand, The Clark Sisters, Marc Anthony and Jessie J. In early December, A Mary Christmas became Blige's 12th top ten album after it rose to #10 in its eight week.
    In early 2013, reports surfaced that Blige was recording a Christmas album.
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  • 2012
    Blige was featured on the song "Now or Never" from Kendrick Lamar's album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, released on October 22, 2012.
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    On September 23, 2012, Blige was a performer at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.
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    Blige appeared as guest mentor on American Idol on March 7, 2012, and performed "Why" on the results show the following night.
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    On February 28, 2012, Blige performed "Star Spangled Banner" at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
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    The album itself debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, selling 156,000 copies first week; it was eventually certified Gold in 2012 and has sold 763,000 in the US.
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  • 2011
    In August 2011, Blige released her first single off the album, "25/8".
    More Details Hide Details Blige's tenth studio album, My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1), was released in November 2011. The album, primarily recorded in Los Angeles and New York City, saw Blige looking toward the future while acknowledging the past. "From me to you, My Life II... Our journey together continues in this life," the singer explained. "It’s a gift to be able to relate and identify with my fans at all times. This album is a reflection of the times and lives of people all around me." The album feature production from Kanye West and The Underdogs, among others. The second single "Mr. Wrong" featuring Canadian rapper Drake was the most successful single from the album, peaking at #10 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The rest of songs released, including lead single "25/8" achieved only moderate success, peaking within the top 40 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
    In July 2011, Blige released the song "The Living Proof" as the lead single to the soundtrack of the film The Help.
    More Details Hide Details On July 24, VH1 premiered their third Behind the Music that profiled her personal and career life.
    In January 2011, Hot 97 premiered Blige's teaster track "Someone to Love Me (Naked)" featuring vocals by Lil Wayne.
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  • 2010
    On November 18, 2010, Billboard revealed Mary J. Blige as the most successful female R&B/Hip Hop Artist on the Top 50 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years list.
    More Details Hide Details Mary came in at number 2 overall. Blige named her fans "Mary Janes".
    Blige also took part in February 2010's We Are the World 25 for Haiti, singing the solo originally sung by Tina Turner in the original 1985 We Are the World version.
    More Details Hide Details At the 41st NAACP Image Awards Blige won Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding Album for Stronger with Each Tear.
    At the 2010 Grammy Awards, Blige and Andrea Bocelli performed" Bridge over Troubled Water".
    More Details Hide Details Blige also performed on BET's SOS Help For Haiti, singing "Gonna Make It" with Jazmine Sullivan and "One."
    On January 23, 2010, Blige released a track "Hard Times Come Again No More" with The Roots as well as performing it at the Hope for Haiti Now telethon.
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    Blige appeared as a guest judge on the ninth season of American Idol on January 13, 2010.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    On November 4, 2009, Blige sang The Star-Spangled Banner at Yankee Stadium before the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies played the last game (game 6) of the World Series.
    More Details Hide Details Blige performed two songs from her ninth album as well as her previous hits, "No More Drama" and "Be Without You" along with the song "Color", which was featured on the Precious soundtrack.
    Blige was honored at the 2009 BET Honors Ceremony and was paid tribute by Anita Baker and Monica.
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    Blige recorded "Stronger", as the lead single from the soundtrack to the basketball documentary "More than a Game" in August 2009.
    More Details Hide Details The second single from Stronger with Each Tear, "I Am", was released in December 2009 and reached number fifty-five on the Hot 100. The third international single from the album, "Each Tear", was remixed with different featured artists from different countries, then being released in February 2010. The single failed to chart anywhere except in the UK where it reached number one-hundred-eighty-three and in Italy where it reached number one. The album's third U.S. single, "We Got Hood Love" featuring Trey Songz, was released in March 2010 and reached number twenty-five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart though it failed to reach the Hot 100. One of Blige's representatives reported to Us Weekly magazine that a tour in support of Stronger with Each Tear will begin in the fall of 2010. On March 2010, Blige released Stronger with Each Tear in the United Kingdom, as well as in the European markets. The album performed modestly in the United Kingdom, debuting at number thirty-three on the UK Albums Chart and at number four on the UK R&B Chart. It reached the top 100 in other countries.
    Blige's ninth studio album, Stronger with Each Tear, was released on December 21, 2009, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, selling 332,000 units in its first week of release.
    More Details Hide Details It became her fifth album not to take the top spot in the United States. The lead single, "The One", which features Canadian rapper Drake, was released for airplay in June 2009, and was officially and digitally released in July 2009, peaking at number sixty-three on the Hot 100.
    Growing Pains was nominated for and won the Grammy Award for "Best Contemporary R&B Album", at the 51st Grammy Awards held on February 8, 2009, earning Blige her 27th Grammy nomination, in a mere decade.
    More Details Hide Details Blige went on the Growing Pains European Tour, her first tour there in two years. A tour of Australia and New Zealand was scheduled for June but was postponed due to "weariness from an overwhelming tour schedule" and then eventually canceled entirely.
    Blige returned to performing in January 2009 by performing the song "Lean on Me" at the Presidential Inauguration Committee's, "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial".
    More Details Hide Details Blige also performed her hit 2007 single, "Just Fine", with a new intro at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball after Barack Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009. Blige appeared as a marquee performer on the annual Christmas in Washington television special.
    Blige also earned high remarks for her work in film. She starred in the 2009 Tyler Perry box-office hit I Can Do Bad All By Myself and played a role in the film Rock of Ages (2012).
    More Details Hide Details She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her musical contribution to the film The Help. In partnership with the Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Carol's Daughter, Blige released her "My Life" perfume. The perfume broke HSN records by selling 65,000 bottles during its premiere. The scent went on to win two FiFi Awards, including the "Fragrance Sales Breakthrough" award.
  • 2008
    On August 7, 2008, it was revealed Blige faced a US$2 million federal suit claiming Neff-U wrote the music for the song "Work That", but was owned by Dream Family Entertainment.
    More Details Hide Details The filing claimed that Dream Family never gave rights to use the song to Blige, Feemster or Geffen Records. Rights to the lyrics of the song used in an iPod commercial are not in question.
    In March 2008, she toured with Jay-Z in the Heart of the City Tour.
    More Details Hide Details They released a song called "You're Welcome". In the same period, cable network BET aired a special on Blige entitled The Evolution of Mary J. Blige, which showcased her career. Celebrities such as Method Man and Ashanti gave their opinions about Blige and her music. Blige is featured on singles by Big Boi, and Musiq Soulchild.
  • 2007
    Blige was featured on 50 Cent's 2007 album, Curtis, in the song "All of Me".
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    Blige's eighth studio album, Growing Pains, was released on December 18, 2007, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
    More Details Hide Details It sold 629,000 copies in its first week, marking the third time since Nielsen SoundScan began collecting data in 1991 that two albums sold more than 600,000 copies in a week in the United States. In its second week, the album climbed to number one, making it Blige's fourth number-one album. The lead single, "Just Fine", peaked at number twenty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Just Fine" was nominated for the Grammy Award for "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance", and Blige won "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for the Chaka Khan duet "Disrespectful" (featured on Khan's album Funk This) which Blige wrote. Growing Pains was not released in the UK until February 2008, where it became Blige's fifth top ten and third-highest charting album.The Breakthrough and Reflections (A Retrospective) were released in the Christmas rush and therefore settled for lower peaks, although both selling more than her top five album Mary. "Just Fine" returned Blige to the UK singles chart top 20 after her previous two singles failed to chart highly. Subsequent singles from Growing Pains include "Work That", which accompanied Blige in an iTunes commercial, and "Stay Down".
    She received eight Grammy Award nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards, the most of any artist that year. "Be Without You" was nominated for both "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year".
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  • 2006
    Blige was featured with Aretha Franklin and The Harlem Boys Choir on the soundtrack to the 2006 motion picture Bobby, on the lead track "Never Gonna Break My Faith" written by Bryan Adams.
    More Details Hide Details The song was nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.
    In 2006, Blige recorded a duet with rapper Ludacris, "Runaway Love", which is the third single on his fifth album, Release Therapy.
    More Details Hide Details It reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B chart.
    Blige completed a season sweep of the "big three" major music awards, having won two American Music Awards in November 2006 and nine Billboard Music Awards in December 2006.
    More Details Hide Details In December 2006, a compilation called Reflections (A Retrospective) was released. It contained many of Blige's greatest hits and four new songs, including the worldwide lead single "We Ride (I See the Future)". In the UK, however, "MJB da MVP" (which appeared in a different, shorter form on The Breakthrough) was released as the lead single from the collection. The album peaked at number nine in the U.S, selling over 170,000 copies in its first week, while reaching number forty in the UK. It has sold more than 1.6 million copies.
  • 2005
    Geffen Records released Blige's seventh studio album, The Breakthrough on December 20, 2005.
    More Details Hide Details For the album, Blige collaborated with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Rodney Jerkins, will.i.am, Bryan-Michael Cox, 9th Wonder, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq, Cool and Dre, and Dre & Vidal. The cover art was photographed by Markus Klinko & Indrani. It debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Selling 727,000 copies in its first week, it became the biggest first-week sales for an R&B solo female artist in SoundScan history, the fifth largest first-week sales for a female artist, and the fourth largest debut of 2005. Since its release, The Breakthrough has sold over three million copies in the U.S and over seven million copies worldwide, becoming one of the five best-selling albums of 2006. The lead-off single, "Be Without You", peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, while peaking at number one on the R&B chart for a record-setting fifteen consecutive weeks; it remained on the chart for over sixteen months. "Be Without You" found success in the UK (peaking in the lower end of the top forty) it became Blige's longest charting single on the UK Singles Chart. It is her second longest charting single to date. The album produced three more singles including two more top five R&B hits—"Enough Cryin'", which features Blige's alter ego Brook-Lynn (as whom she appeared on the remix to Busta Rhymes's "Touch It" in 2006); and "Take Me as I Am" (which samples Lonnie Liston Smith's "A Garden of Peace").
  • 2003
    Blige married her manager, Martin "Kendu" Isaacs, on December 7, 2003.
    More Details Hide Details At the time, Isaacs had two children, Nas and Jordan, with his first wife, and an older daughter, Briana, from a teenaged relationship.
    On August 26, 2003, Blige's sixth album Love & Life was released on Geffen Records (which had absorbed MCA Records.) Blige heavily collaborated with her one-time producer Sean Combs for this set.
    More Details Hide Details Due to the history between them on What's the 411? and My Life, which is generally regarded as their best work, and Blige having just come off of a successful fifth album, expectations were high for the reunion effort. Despite the album debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and becoming Blige's fourth consecutive UK top ten album, Love & Lifes lead-off single, the Diddy-produced "Love @ 1st Sight", which featured Method Man, barely cracked the top ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, while altogether missing the top twenty on the Hot 100 (although peaking inside the UK top twenty). The following singles, "Ooh! ", "Not Today" featuring Eve, "Whenever I Say Your Name"featuring Sting on the international re-release, and "It's a Wrap" fared worse. Although the album was certified platinum, it became Blige's lowest-selling to date. Critics and fans alike largely panned the disc, citing a lack of consistency and noticeable ploys to recapture the early Blige/Combs glory. Blige and Combs reportedly struggled and clashed during the making of this album, and again parted ways upon the completion of it.
  • 2002
    On July 22, 2002, MCA released Dance for Me, a collection of club remixes of some of her past top hits including the Junior Vasquez remix of "Your Child", and the Thunderpuss mix of "No More Drama."
    More Details Hide Details This album was released in a limited edition double pack 12" vinyl for DJ-friendly play in nightclubs.
    In April 2002, Blige performed with Shakira with the song "Love Is a Battlefield" on VH1 Divas show live in Las Vegas, she also performed "No More Drama" and "Rainy Dayz" as a duet with the returning Whitney Houston.
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  • 2001
    On August 28, 2001, MCA released Blige's fifth studio album, No More Drama.
    More Details Hide Details The album's first single, "Family Affair" (produced by Dr. Dre) became her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for six consecutive weeks. It was followed by two further hit singles, the European only single "Dance for Me" featuring Common with samples from "The Bed's Too Big Without You" by The Police, and the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced title track (originally recorded for the Mary album), which sampled "Nadia's Theme", the piano-driven theme song to the daytime drama The Young and the Restless. Though the album sold nearly two million copies in the U.S., MCA was underwhelmed by its sales, and subsequently repackaged and re-released the album on January 29, 2002. The No More Drama re-release featured a new album cover, deleted three of the songs from the original track listing, while adding two brand-new songs—one of which was the fourth single and top twenty Hot 100 hit "Rainy Dayz", (featuring Ja Rule), plus two remixes; one of the title track, serviced by Puff Daddy and the single version of "Dance for Me" featuring Common. The album sold another million-plus units (3.2 million in total) in the U.S. and seven million worldwide. Blige won a Grammy for 'Best Female R&B Vocal Performance' for the song "He Think I Don't Know."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1999
    She also appeared on In Concert: A Benefit for the Crossroads Centre at Antigua with Eric Clapton in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details On December 14, 1999, the album was re-released as a double-disc set. The second disc was enhanced with the music videos for the singles "All That I Can Say" and "Deep Inside" and included two bonus tracks: "Sincerity" (featuring Nas, Andy Hogan and DMX) and "Confrontation" (a collaboration with hip hop duo Funkmaster Flex & Big Kap originally from their 1999 album The Tunnel). The Mary album was critically praised, becoming her most nominated release to date, and was certified double platinum (selling over two million in sales.) It was not as commercially successful as Blige's prior releases, though all of the singles: "All That I Can Say", "Deep Inside", "Your Child", and "Give Me You" performed considerably on radio. In the meantime, MCA used the album to expand Blige's demographic into the nightclub market, as club-friendly dance remixes of the Mary singles were released. The club remix of "Your Child" peaked at number-one on the Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart in October 2000. In 2001, a Japan-only compilation, Ballads, was released. The album featured covers of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed", and previous recordings of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue".
    On August 17, 1999, Blige's fourth album, titled Mary was released.
    More Details Hide Details It marked a departure from her more familiar hip hop-oriented sound; this set featured a more earthy, whimsical, and adult contemporary-tinged collection of songs, reminiscent of 1970s to early 1980s soul.
  • 1998
    In 1998, Blige made her acting debut on the sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show playing a character, the apparently southern Ola Mae; a preacher's daughter who wanted to sing more than gospel music.
    More Details Hide Details Her father was portrayed by Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers. In 2001, Blige starred opposite rapper Q-Tip in the independent film Prison Song. That same year, Blige made a cameo on the Lifetime network series, Strong Medicine; playing the role of Simone Fellows. Blige's character was the lead singer of a band who was sick, but would not seek treatment. In 2000, Blige was featured in a superhero web cartoon in junction with Stan Lee. Blige used the cartoon as part of her performance while on her 2000 Mary Show Tour. In 2004, Blige starred in an Off-Broadway play, The Exonerated. The play chronicled the experiences of death row inmates. Blige portrayed Sunny Jacobs, a woman who spent 20 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. In late 2005, it was reported that Blige landed the starring role in the upcoming MTV Films biopic on American singer/pianist and civil rights activist, Nina Simone. By spring of 2010, Blige was slated to star as Simone with British actor David Oyelowo portraying her manager Clifton Henderson.
    In early 1998, Blige won an American Music Award for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album".
    More Details Hide Details That summer, she embarked on the Share My World Tour, which resulted in a Gold-certified live album released later that year, simply titled The Tour. The album spawned one single, "Misty Blue".
  • 1997
    The album became Blige's most commercially successful, selling three million copies in the U.S. In February 1997, Blige performed her hit at the time, "Not Gon' Cry", at the 1997 Grammy Awards, which gained her a third Grammy Award nomination, her first for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, as Blige was recording the follow-up to My Life.
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    On April 22, 1997, MCA Records (parent company to Uptown Records, which was in the process of being dismantled) released Blige's third album, Share My World.
    More Details Hide Details By then, she and Combs had dissolved their working relationship. In his place were the Trackmasters, who executive-produced the project along with Steve Stoute. Sharing production duties were producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, R. Kelly, Babyface and Rodney Jerkins. The album was made at a time when Blige was trying to "get her life together", by trying to overcome drugs and alcohol, as well as the ending of her relationship with Hailey. After an encounter with a person who threatened her life the previous year, she tried to quit the unhealthy lifestyle and make more upbeat, happier music. As a result, songs such as "Love Is All We Need" and "Share My World" were made. Share My World debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned five hit singles: "Love Is All We Need" (featuring Nas), "I Can Love You" (featuring Lil' Kim), "Everything", "Missing You" (UK only) and "Seven Days" (featuring George Benson).
  • 1996
    Throughout 1996, Blige appeared in collaborations with Ghostface Killah, on their co-written single, "All That I Got Is You", though in the video, Blige was replaced by Wu-Tang affiliate, Tekitha, due to scheduling conflicts.
    More Details Hide Details She also collaborated with then up-and-coming musicians, singer Case, on his breakthrough single, "Touch Me, Tease Me", featuring Foxy Brown and also appeared on rapper Jay-Z's single, "Can't Knock the Hustle", released off the rapper's debut album, Reasonable Doubt.
    The platinum-selling single rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in early 1996, and became her biggest commercial hit at the time.
    More Details Hide Details Blige gained her first two Grammy nominations, and won the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for her collaboration with Method Man. My Life was also nominated for Best R&B Album. In addition, My Life received a nomination for the 1996 American Music Awards for "Favorite Soul/R&B Album". In addition she and Faith Evans provided backing vocals to The Notorious B.I.G.'s "One More Chance" single remix version, which at the time, became his biggest hit peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Blige also made an appearance in the music video for the single.
  • 1995
    In early 1995, it was followed up with a cover of Rose Royce's 1976 hit "I'm Goin' Down", which became her first top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at number 12, it also reached number 22 and number 13 on the Hot 100 and R&B singles chart.
    More Details Hide Details Other My Life singles include "You Bring Me Joy" and "I Love You". "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" and "My Life" received heavy radio play, despite never being officially released as singles apart from the UK, where "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" became Blige's second top 20 hit from the album there. My Life was eventually certified triple platinum. In spite of its success and her growing fame, Blige later admitted that she was simultaneously dealing with longtime bouts of drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression, as well as an abusive relationship with then-boyfriend K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci. Blige involved herself in several outside projects, recording a cover of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for the soundtrack to the FOX series New York Undercover, and "Everyday It Rains" (co-written by R&B singer Faith Evans) for the soundtrack to the hip hop documentary, The Show. That summer she collaborated with rapper Method Man on his song, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By". Later in the year, she recorded the Babyface-penned and produced "Not Gon' Cry", for the soundtrack to the motion picture Waiting to Exhale.
    In late 1995, Blige topped the Billboard Year-End chart toppers as Top R&B Album, Top R&B Album Artist, Top R&B Album Artist — Female, and Top-Hot Dance Maxi-Single Sales (for her collaboration with Method Man on "All I Need"). "Be Happy", the album's lead single, peaked at number 29 and number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles chart, respectively.
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  • 1994
    Remix, a remix album released in December that was used to extend the life of the What's the 411? singles on the radio into 1994, as Blige recorded her follow-up album.
    More Details Hide Details With combined sales of over 5 million albums and singles from her debut album, Blige was the best selling female artist on the Uptown label.
    On November 29, 1994, Uptown Records/MCA Records released Blige's second album, My Life.
    More Details Hide Details Puffy took over as executive producer for the album for his newly founded label, Bad Boy Entertainment, which was at the time backed by Arista Records. Washington DC native Carl "Chucky" Thompson produced also (despite his having recently left the label). Unlike What's the 411?, Blige co-wrote a large body of the material, basing it on her personal life. In its first week, My Life debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, and debuting at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, for eight consecutive weeks. It is still regarded as one of the best albums in Blige's discography. In 2003, the album was ranked at #279 on The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by magazine Rolling Stone.
  • 1992
    In regards to her music, on July 28, 1992, Uptown/MCA Records released What's the 411?, produced by Puffy.
    More Details Hide Details Blige's inaugural album ushered in a new era and genre of R&B music. Blige's raw and gritty sound was utterly antithetical to that of pop icons Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson. Her East Coast hip hop, Northern Urban City-influenced sound became the blueprint for other artists. "You Remind Me", the album's first single, peaked at number one on the R&B singles chart that summer. The second single, "Real Love", was released in the fall. It too topped the R&B singles chart, and became Blige's first top ten Hot 100 single, peaking at number seven. Both singles were certified gold for their sales volume. More What's the 411? singles followed into 1993, including "Sweet Thing", a cover of Rufus's "Sweet Thing", and "Love No Limit". By the end of the year, What's the 411? had sold three million copies. Blige, meanwhile, released a hip hop single "You Don't Have to Worry". After the success of What's the 411. The album's success spun off What's the 411?
  • 1991
    Production for Blige's debut album began in 1991.
    More Details Hide Details When first introducing Mary J. Blige to Uptown executives at a convention, producer and Uptown's A&R director Sean "Puffy" Combs dubbed her as the "Queen of Ghetto Love". Instead, Andre Harrell hailed her as the "Queen of Hip Hop Soul". From her fashion style to her sound, Blige was completely different from most female artists in the early 1990s. Baseball caps, combat boots, and baggy clothes constituted her signature style.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    Harrell met with Blige and in 1989 she was signed to the label, becoming the company's youngest and first female artist.
    More Details Hide Details Blige's early years consisted of session work for the likes of Jeff Redd, who introduced her during a live performance at the Apollo Theater. A year later, she sang the hook on Father MC's hit "I'll Do 4 U" and was prominently featured, singing, at the end of the video.
  • 1988
    Pursuing a musical career, Blige spent a short period of time in a Yonkers band named Pride with band drummer Eddie D'Aprile. In early 1988, she recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" at a recording booth in the Galleria Mall in White Plains, New York.
    More Details Hide Details Her mother's boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to the president and CEO of the label, Andre Harrell.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1971
    Blige was born on January 17, 1971, in the New York City borough The Bronx, She is the second of four children born to mother Cora, a nurse, and second to father Thomas Blige, a jazz musician, The family subsisted on her mother's earnings as a nurse after her father left the family in the mid-1970s, the former an alcoholic and the latter a Vietnam War veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
    More Details Hide Details Blige spent her early years in Richmond Hill, Georgia, where she sang in a Pentecostal church. Blige later moved to Schlobohm Houses in Yonkers, New York, immediately north of New York City, where she lived with her mother and older sister. Blige dropped out of high school in her junior year.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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