The Queen of Hip Hop Soul celebrates her 49th birthday today and we thought it was only right to show our appreciation for the entertainer and best friend in our heads who has been a constant in our lives since 1992.
To millions of Mary J. Blige's fans, she is R&B royalty whose empathetic voice belting out pain and heartbreak has helped them through life's worse trials: breakup, betrayal, addiction and abuse.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is undeniably one of the great singers and artists of her generation. She has sold over 50 million albums and, as of 2020, has won nine Grammy Awards and starred in several series and movies.
But wait a minute how good do you know Mary J?
Check out 10 things you probably didn't know about Mary J. Blige.
Number One: She Is the Most Successful R&B Artist of the Past 25 Years
Mary J. Blige received the lifetime achievement honor at the BET Awards.
Rihanna was at the 2019 BET Awards to pay homage to the legendary Mary J. Blige, recipient of BET’s lifetime achievement award. Rihanna hailed Mary for paving the way for her and other women in music:
“Thank you for being you so we could feel comfortable being ourselves,” Rihanna told her.
Number Two: If She Wasn’t a Singer, She Might Be Braiding Hair
After dropping out of high school, Blige made ends meet by braiding other people’s hair. She might still be doing this if she didn’t eventually get a record deal!
Number Three: Mary J. Blige Loves Helping Others
Though Blige is clearly a talented singer and performer, she’s also a talented philanthropist. She uses her place in the spotlight to bring attention to what matters – and for her, that’s helping other people.
Number Four: Elton John Is Her BFF
Blige called John after he publicly complimented her – something he rarely does to other musicians. They met up and even worked together on one of her songs!
Number Five: She Believes That Aging Is a Mentality
Aging is an inevitable process, and Blige is certainly aware of that. However, she believes that aging is more about a person’s mentality than it is about their physical traits. She has said that she takes care of herself so she can feel – and subsequently look – young.
Number Six: She’s an Interior Design Fanatic
When asked what her hidden talent is, Blige said that she loves interior design and has always loved coordinating colors. She especially enjoys pairing different colors together to see how they go together.
Number Seven: Potatoes Are Her Favorite Food
Rather than choose something fancy like foie gras, Blige says that the one food she would never be able to sacrifice is potatoes. She loves potatoes in all their iterations – whether they’re fried, mashed, or baked, she loves them all.
Number Eight: If She Could Have Any Superpower, She’d Want to Be Psychic
It’s true! Given the choice, Blige would want the superpower of being psychic over any other power.
Number Nine: She Has a Record Label
Is there anything this soulful seductress can’t do? Blige’s record label is called Matriarch Records and she launched it in 2004.
Number Ten: She Dropped Out of High School
Blige had a really rough childhood – not only was her father absent during her adolescence, but she was also molested by a friend of the family when she was five years old. She acted out in high school by partying all the time and ended up dropping out as a result.