Mary J. Blige Is Queen of Everything She Does

Mary J. Blige Is Queen of Everything She Does
    -You´ve been the show many times performing.
    But this is the first time --
    I got to tell you, you´re fantastic in this movie.
    -Thank you. -You´re a great actor.
    -Thank you. -Please.
    I mean, congratulations.
    Was acting always in your plan?
    -Well, yeah, when I was about 7 years old,
    my music teacher put me in -- she put me in a play,
    and I discovered that I was an actress
    when I would hear the chatter of people saying,
    "Oh, she did great. She´s doing great.
    She did great in the play." So when I was a little kid,
    that kind of stuck with me that I did great in that play.
    And I didn´t really look at it any more until I got older
    and I was like, okay, you know, singing´s is my first love.
    -Absolutely, yeah. -That´s just what I do.
    So, until I --
    When I got older, then I started looking at it again.
    But you know. -You´re fantastic.
    -Yeah, thank you. -You´re already won awards.
    Breakout Performance Actress at the Hollywood Film Awards,
    Breakthrough Performance at the IndieWire Honors.
    How´s that it feel to win these awards you got for acting?
    -It´s amazing
    just to be recognized as an actress.
    I´ve been singing all my life.
    I´ve been in this game for 25-something years
    and just to be looked at as an actress
    and respected as an actress,
    because I really work hard for it.
    I just didn´t want to get a role as an artist
    and, you know, not do my best.
    So I feel really good about it.
    I´m so humbled by the whole thing, that you know --
    -That´s the best part.
    That you actually are humble,
    because you´re also known as the queen of hip-hop/soul,
    and to be known as that, it´s hard to be humble.
    You´re like, "Hey, Queen." [ Laughter ]
    And you go, "Yeah, I guess." I mean, does that --
    When you first heard that term, did that --
    Does that put you in a whole different --
    Did you think about that 7-year-old Mary J.?
    -When I first heard that term,
    I didn´t understand that I was a queen.
    I just thought, you know, I just --
    I didn´t know what to do with it.
    I didn´t understand that I was a queen
    until later in my career when I heard my song
    "Family Affair" on the country station.
    Like, I was like, "Well,
    R&B music is not played on the country station,
    so I must have done something.
    But it didn´t register to me that I was a queen of anything,
    a queen of hip-hop/soul.
    I know it was a form of music,
    but I didn´t take it like, you know, I´m a queen.
    Now it´s like "Yeah, I´m a queen."
    I´m queen of everything, you know?
    I´m just queen, you know, of what I do.
    Queen of everything that I do. -Yeah.
    -So I accept it now.
    Not being cocky about it.
    I feel like I had to earn it.
    I didn´t know --
    I didn´t really understand.
    It´s a genre of music -- the queen of hip-hop/soul.
    It´s a form of music, right? -It is.
    -Right, isn´t it? -Yeah.
    -So now it´s like, okay, yeah, I´m the leader
    and the queen of that type of music.
    -And you can own it. -Yeah. I own it now.
    It´s mine. [ Cheers and applause ]
    -I know enough about you, I think I know a lot about you,
    but I know that you started in a karaoke booth in the mall?
    -Well, I didn´t start there. -Right.
    -That´s where the demo came,
    but I didn´t even know I was recording a demo.
    I was in love with Anita Baker´s "Rapture" album,
    and I would sing, like, all over the house,
    every last one of her songs,
    but "Caut Up in the Rapture" was --
    That was my favorite.
    -[ Vocalizing ]
    -Yeah, sing, Jimmy. -Yeah, no, that was --
    [ Laughter ]
    They threw me out of that karaoke box in the mall.
    I wouldn´t even -- but I love Anita Baker.
    -Well, my cousin, she forced me to go into the karaoke booth.
    -Where was this?
    -In Westchester at the Galleria mall.
    Yeah, and -- -That´s what I´m saying.
    There are great stories. -Yeah.
    -So you went in there. You were singing Anita Baker?
    -Yeah, the song "Caught Up in the Rapture."
    Of course it was like a tape.
    A regular tape. Then I took the tape.
    I brought it home and gave to it my stepfather,
    and he played it and he went crazy over it,
    and he knew Jeff Redd, who worked General Motors with him,
    and Jeff Redd knew Andre Harrell.
    And Andre Harrell got the tape and came down to Schlobohm,
    to the projects where we lived.
    He actually came to, you know, the projects where we lived.
    And was standing in my living room,
    and I sang probably like five, six songs from that album.
    -In your living room.
    -Yeah, my living room from that "Rapture" album,
    and then the rest is history.
    And I didn´t know I was gonna get a deal.
    I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever."
    You know, because you don´t think --
    When you come from where I come from,
    you don´t think these things are gonna happen.
    So I was singing because that´s what I did to survive.
    And here I am because of that day.
    -Absolutely. Congratulations.
    [ Cheers and applause ]
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