When she was first discovered, Mary J. Blige was a diamond in the rough. A Bronx/Yonkers girl with some Georgia roots, she appealed to just about every kind of person when she first went mainstream in 1992. Fast-forward 26 years and Blige is going mainstream in a whole new way. On Tuesday morning, it was announced that she was nominated for two Oscars this year: Best Original Song and Best Supporting Actress, for her role in the Netflix drama Mudbound.
Her fans quickly got in formation:
This is legit groundbreaking news—she's the first person ever to be nominated for a performance and original song in the same year, for the same film. To call it like it is, it would be fucking awesome if Mary ended up taking home at least one of the awards. But even if she doesn't, she still deserves to be seen as the icon she is. Let's run down just a few of the reasons.
She showed us how to get through love and pain
With her debut release What's the 4-1-1-?, Blige simultaneously grabbed our hearts and moved our asses. She continued forth in that fashion for each album that followed, putting women on game and standing at our sides as we figured it all out. You broke up with your man? There's a song for that. (Hell, there are whole-ass albums for that.)
Feeling like things are gonna be alright? There's a song for that.
Sensing some hateration and/or holleration in your dancerie? Boy, does she have the song for you.
Blige was crowned the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, and she's more than lived up to that title, and beyond.
She showed us how to kick trash men to the curb
When talking to Variety about her work on Mudbound, Blige brought up her real-life battles. "I used a lot of my own heaviness from my own misery that I was living in that horrible marriage," she said. "I was just dying in it. I knew something was wrong. I just couldn't prove it. I just had all the heaviness of not feeling right, not feeling good. I gave it to [my character] Florence." And girl, powering through got you two Oscar noms, you better MFing WORK.
Mary don't need no trash ass man to bring her down, OK?
She taught us how to dance like no one's watching
Now, hear me out: Mary J. Blige is almost like the real-life Elaine Benes—wait, keep listening—except her leg flailings actually make sense. They have feeling, they've got moxie, they're orchestrated, and they're carried out with a true, coordinated zest for life. That being said, those unconventional moves inspired hella memes and fan renditions. They're all presented with love, of course:
Mary herself has said, "Everybody don't do it right," but you really can't go wrong when you're coming from the heart.
She's everybody's favorite auntie
And I mean, everybody.
Who are we to deny her greatness?
She's adjusting pretty damn well to Hollywood
And now, we come full circle. Mary J. Blige started out as an around-the-way girl who could just sing her ass off. Combine that God-given skill with a studious foray into the acting world and she now has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she was honored with just this month.
She's rubbing elbows with the elite of Tinseltown now; she's even outchea hugged up with the legendary Tom Hanks in an embrace that must smell like butterflies and freshly shined shoes.
Mary is slowly, but surely, getting the respect she deserves. But there ain't nothing wrong with speeding that process up. We salute you, Mary, as you are.