Mary J. Blige Image Credit: ShutterStock

Did You Know the Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, Was Born on This Day?

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This Day In History: January 11th

The Grammy Award-winning artist, Mary J Blige, has been providing fans with hits since the early 1990s. Over the course of her career, she has recorded more than a dozen studio albums with more than half of them reaching multi-platinum success worldwide.

Here are five things to know about the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul!

  1. Life Before The Fame. Mary Jane Blige was born on January 11, 1971, in the Bronx, New York. The early years of her childhood were traumatic and led to years of drug and alcohol abuse. In addition to witnessing the abuse of her mother, she also witnessed women in her apartment complex being abused by their partners. In an effort to escape her childhood issues, Blige turned to music which ultimately changed the trajectory of her life. 
  1. Becoming The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul. After recording Anita Baker’s Caught Up in the Rapture on a cassette tape, Blige began to promote herself and send her demo tape to record labels. She managed to get the attention of Andre Harrell at Uptown Records and he signed her in 1992. Blige began working with producer, Sean “Diddy” Combs to release her debut album, What’s the 411?, and it sold more than 3 million copies. She followed up the success of her first album with the release of My Life in 1994. The following year she won her first Grammy and continued to put out music for her fans around the world. In 2019, Blige added a 19th album, HERstory Vol. 1, to her discography. 
  1. Finding Success In Acting. In 1998, Blige made her acting debut on The Jamie Foxx Show as the character Ola Mae. Three years later she made her film debut in the movie, Prison Song, alongside fellow musician Q-Tip. She has also made appearances in productions such as the television movie Betty and Coretta (2013), Black Nativity (2013), Mudbound (2017), The Umbrella Academy (2019) and Body Cam (2020). Blige also took on a leading role in the Starz series Power Book II: Ghost (2020) as the character Monet Tejada. 
  1. Business Ventures Over The Years. Blige’s success in music, television and film opened the door for her to find various opportunities in business. In 2004, she launched her own record label, Matriarch, which was distributed through Interscope Records. Six years later, she expanded into fragrances and released her “My Life” perfume line with the Home Shopping Network (HSN). She also partnered with Simone I. Smith to establish the ‘Sister Love’ accessory line.  In 2020, Blige entered the adult beverage industry and launched her Sun Goddess Wines brand. She partnered with Fantinel Winery to produce the Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc offered by the brand. 
  1. Awards And Accolades. Throughout her career, Blige has earned nine Grammys and has been nominated more than 30 times. She is also the recipient of the BET Lifetime Achievement Award and an Image Award from the NAACP. Her music has also earned her several Billboard and American Music Awards. In 2018, Blige was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   
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