Mary J. Blige is rightfully one of the most celebrated musicians of her era and has taken her talents to the screen as well in recent times. The incomparable “Queen of Hip Hop Soul” turns 50 today (Jan. 11) and fans on Twitter are celebrating the legendary singer and actress.
Mary Jane Blige was born in 1971 in the Bronx, living for a short while in Savannah, Ga. before settling in with her family in the Schlobohm Housing Projects in Yonkers, N.Y. While still a teenager, Blige got her big break as a recording artist after signing with Andre Harrell’s Uptown Records and became a backup singer for rapper Father MC.
Blige’s time with Uptown Records put her in close connection with Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who served as the executive producer for her classic 1992 debut, What’s The 411? The album, a mix of soulful and familiar samples with Blige’s powerful vocals standing out in front, Blige earned her honorific title as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul while continuing to add to that legacy with the excellent followup, 1994’s My Life.
During this period, Blige, who has endured physical abuse and other issues as a child, was embroiled in a turbulent relationship with Jodeci singer K-Ci Hailey, and the pain translated into some of Blige’s most celebrated works. However, Blige took ownership of her art and career direction with her third album, Share My World, her first project without Diddy’s involvement.
Over the course of her still ongoing career, Blige has released 13 studio albums, two live albums, and over 80 singles. Combining her worldwide sales, Blige has sold over 80 million records, making her one of the most popular songstresses to ever live. Currently, Blige is also starring in Starz’s hit series, Power Book II: Ghost as the wife of a top gangster, and she’ll be playing the role of Dinah Washington in the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect.
Happy birthday to Mary J. Blige. Keep scrolling to see the reactions from Twitter.