Mary J. Blige’s music has been the soundtrack that soothed much suffering for years. Now, the R&B superstar and founder of Sun Goddess Wines is encouraging empowerment through her Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit.
At the opening of Brooklyn Chop House Times Square, she exclusively spoke with Insider about why she chose to create the Live Nation-produced event.
“We really need to love on each other and uplift each other and enlighten each other and build each other up,” Blige told Insider. “And that’s what this festival is all about. It’s about uplifting and building and strengthening women.”
The musical line-up includes seasoned acts and newcomers. Chaka Khan, Xscape, Ella Mai, City Girls, Inayah, Baby Tate, Kiana Ledé, Kierra Sheard, Sevyn Streeter, Queen Naija, Rubi Rose, Le’andria Johnson, MK xyz, and Omerettà The Great are among those scheduled to perform. Ms. Pat will be leading a comedy night, and Blige’s good friend Taraji P. Henson will be leading workshops and panels.
Mary J. Blige set the music world on fire with her trailblazing 1994 LP “My Life,”. In Vanessa Roth’s documentary Mary J. Blige’s My Life, the singer, producer and actress reveals the demons and blessings that inspired the record and propelled her to international stardom. She celebrates the 25th anniversary of her most influential work by performing the album live for the first time.
“Without us, what would there be? You know, there wouldn’t be no children, there would be no balance. We are necessary,” said Blige, who developed the idea for the festival with MJB Inc. vice president Nicole Jackson and marketing professional Ashaunna Ayar. “Women need each other right now, more than ever.”
“I’m teamed up with them because they’re my family,” she said. As she spoke on the black carpet, Blige demonstrated her appreciation for family by craning her head around to find and embrace her life-long friend, radio personality Angie Martinez. Even as people hovered around to get a glimpse of Blige, she repeatedly asked “where’s Angie?”
“Look at how fly my sisters are,” she said, gesturing to Martinez and smiling at several women working at the event.