Popularly known as the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul”, American singer, songwriter, and actress, Mary Jane Blige is our star girl on the blog today! Credited with influencing the musical marriage of hip hop and R & B, Blige has released 13 studio albums, eight of which have achieved multi-platinum worldwide sales, sold over 80 million records, has won nine Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, ten Billboard Music Awards and has also received three Golden Globe Award nominations.
Blige has been credited with being a hugely influential figure in popular music, “invented what is now called R&B by successfully combining female vocals with muscular hip hop rhythm tracks. In 2004, she launched her own record label, Matriarch Records, and launched her first perfume, My Life exclusively on HSN (Home Shopping Network) in July, 2010. Her fragrance success broke sales records in hours. In October 2010, she released a line of sunglasses called “Melodies by MJB”. Her production company also works on several TV and film projects.
African American scholars have noted the implications of Blige’s presentation and representation of black womanhood and femininity in the typically male-dominated and centric sphere of hip hop. Blending the vocal techniques of rapping in hip hop with inspirational messages in R&B, Blige is credited with articulating black women’s experiences in a “more factual and objective manner” than typical stereotypes and tropes of black women in the media. She also uses her personal experiences and struggles with her family as source material for her songs, refuting notions of black female hyper sexuality by “imploring women to love and empower themselves through both autonomy and intimacy.”
For one who started her career as a back up singer on Uptown Records in 1989, Blige has grown to receive notable awards and achievements. Her 1994 album My Life, is among Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Albums. She received a Legends Award at the World Music Awards in 2006, and the Voice of Music Award from ASCAP in 2007. In 2010, she was ranked 80th on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Artist of All Time. She has also been listed as one of the 50 most influential R&B singers by Essence.
Blige is also the only artist to have won Grammys in the R&B, hip hop, pop, and gospel fields. She is the first person nominated for acting and songwriting in the same year on the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song, in 2017. As of 2018, Blige has sold 80 million records worldwide and Billboard ranked her as the most successful female R&B/Hip-Hop artist of the past 25 years.
Culled from Wikipedia