There was an infectious energy in Hollywood today as Mary J. Blige was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Fans had been lining up all day traveling from across the country to catch a glimpse of the nine-time Grammy Winner, Golden Globe, SAG, and Critics Choice Nominee.
Blige took to the podium to thank the fans, her family and close friends who were among the audience. “When I was a little girl growing up in the projects I just loved to sing and I wanted to sing because it set me free from all of the negativity and all of the confusion that was happening outside of our home. We lived in the Projects but we had love in that home and when we stepped out of that door it was hell. We learned how to survive. My mom is a survivor, she is a single parent mother and she raised us on her own, she had three jobs and she never stopped.” After praising her mother, Blige thanked her family including her sister.
“Something like this is so important and I always want to earn everything. I don’t play games with this. When someone is praising me or looking up to me, I need to have earned it. I’m so grateful for this star right now because I’ve earned it probably three times,” Blige joked to the crowd. “I say that with confidence and not arrogance. I say it because I know that now, and I know my worth, and what this means.” She said with humility.
Sean “Diddy” Combs who along with Andre Harrell honored Blige was thanked. “He pushed me. I wanted to thank you for being one of the biggest inspirations. I really appreciate you for being there for me and looking out for me.” She said to the music producer and entrepreneur.
Blige who is gaining critical praise for her role as Florence Jackson in Mudbound turned to director Dee Rees and said, “I want to thank Dee Rees. When she called me, my life was at a standstill. My career was stagnant and I was doing nothing. Dee Rees called me and gave me a job.” She continued, “She put my career back in motion with Mudbound on a whole other level in the acting world. Dee, I want to thank you for calling me. I don’t think you understood what you did. Mudbound opened up doors and gave me strength that I didn’t even know I had.”
Blige was presented with her star and had moved the crowd to tears with her inspiring talk about her rise from the Projects in Yonkers to a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as she celebrated her 47th birthday. Combs who praised Blige said, “Mary J Blige is a queen. She’s royal. She’s majestic. She’s strong. She’s black excellence,” and roused the crowd into singing Happy Birthday to mark the occasion.
This was the first time I’ve witnessed a star ceremony, but I’ve seen some speeches through the magic of livestream, and I have to say, this was special, this was magical, this was inspirational. Here is a woman who rose, she conquered, she achieved the dream. I spoke to a son who became a fan through his mother, he told me, “Her music inspires me. Her actions inspire me.” Blige called her mother a survivor, but she is a survivor.
If you haven’t done so already, stream her SAG nominated performance in Mudbound on Netflix!