Words by Sentwali Holder

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Back in 2018, Mary J. Blige, racked up two Oscar nominations, one for her memorable performance in Mudbound and again for best original song in the critically acclaimed film. With two of the most coveted nominations that year, the R&B diva from Yonkers was the first artist/actor to be nominated by the Academy for both singing and acting in a film.

Making history as a Grammy award-winning singer turned respected Hollywood talent didn’t come easy.  Mary J. Blige credited Mudbound director Dee Rees, for essentially saving her life and helping her channel strength she did not know she had during the Mudbound journey.


“Mudbound has opened up doors,” Blige stated speaking of the new career opportunities acting at such a high level has presented her.

Blige claims it all comes down to hard work for her history-making feat. In an interview with CBS, Blige stated, “I’ve been working my a– off … I’ve worked really hard. This moment is the pay-off, and this moment says, ‘You know what, Mary? You stood strong.’”

But Blige’s strength and perseverance. Along with past childhood trauma, she escaped the projects of Yonkers, New York, and fuel her journey to stardom. Blige always seems to possess the strength to walk away from circumstances and people that were no longer beneficial to her life. 

Way back in the nineties, Blige was introduced to the world with the chart-topping debut album, What’s the 411?, executive produced by none other than Sean P-Diddy Combs. But now we know her as a multi-hyphenate Oscar-nominated actress, singer-songwriter,  and philanthropist. Her storied legacy includes nine Grammy wins, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, countless music accolades, awards, and her Oscar nominations with surely more to come. We can currently see Blige on Power Book II: Ghost on Starz, showing us once again why she was nominated for Hollywood’s top honor.

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