When Mary J. Blige stepped onto the scene in 1992 singing her first single ‘You Remind Me’ from her debut album ‘What’s The 411’ she was like no other R&B singer we’ve ever seen before, but was that girl next door we knew who lived around the way. She didn’t wear ball gowns or exuded pristine feminism, she stepped on the scene in Armani Suits, wearing door knocker earrings, furs, and Timberland boots with bold blonde and red hair. “When I got in the business, I was already blonde. I was already red. I was already doing those colors. I wasn’t searching for an image. I was my own image,” she says in an interview for Elle Magazine. Identity, Her own personal image, meant everything to young Blige. “That’s what was cool about the hood—everybody had an identity. Nobody wanted to look like the next person. Nobody was trying to duplicate anybody,” she says. And nobody in her circle had been bold enough to try blonde hair—yet. Until the day she got a look at Salt from rap group Salt and Peppa in the ‘Shake Your Thing’ music video and she was hooked. “When I saw Salt’s hair was platinum, it was done. Game over,” Blige says. “I used peroxide to lift my hair color all the way up to platinum [blonde],” and she’s been one shade of blonde or another ever since.
Through all the “Ghetto Fabulous” looks that we’ve come to love and emulate of Blige. What we all failed to realize is, Mary didn’t feel pretty. “I didn’t feel beautiful—like for real for real, not just ‘Hey, I’m pretty but actually believing it—until about 2016,” She stated. It was during the filming of the movie ‘Mudbound’ in which she starred in, that she finally saw her true self, Mary, without the weave, hair color, eyelashes.
“During Mudbound and when I was married, I was feeling so low. I had to pay myself the highest compliments, even if I didn’t believe it, just so I could build myself up,” Blige says. “I would do it in the morning because that’s the time when your hair is not done and you don’t have on makeup. You’re just kind of dealing with yourself for real.” She still wakes up and recites the same words: “Good morning, Gorgeous. I love you. I got you. I need you.” “ ‘This chick is beautiful,’ ” she says. “So I started to believe it and started to pay myself high compliments to get past that feeling and that fear.” she continues. “It’s not just the hairstyles and the clothing and the skin. It’s how I reinvent myself through trials and perseverance. Am I going to quit? No, I’m going to go to the next level. It’s painful to go to the next level because change is hard. But people see me come out and they think, ‘It’s just her skin or her hair.’ No, it’s her. It’s me. I’m really choosing to be a better, stronger person,” she says. “I won’t say hair gave me strength. I’d say I give my hair strength. Whatever I’m wearing, I’m able to have the strength to carry it now, which I was not able to have in the last layer of my life. Hair is beautiful, but I can’t carry it with confidence if I’m not confident. Because then it’d just be a weave, or it’d just be blonde hair or my [natural] hair.” We love seeing Mary at her highest and best self, and we are here for every hair look, designer outfit, and shoe moment. Click HERE to read the full article.