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Mary J. Blige festival leaves Atlanta for New York

Strength of a Woman kicks off Mother’s Day weekend in Brooklyn
Mary J. Blige wears a black dress on the red carpet.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Andrea Raffin

Mary J. Blige, nine-time Grammy winner, Oscar-nominee, and 2024 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, appeared on “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday, March 6, to announce the return of the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit, which debuted last spring in Atlanta with great success. However, this year’s event will migrate north to New York to Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Arena from May 10 to May 12. “We kicked it off in Atlanta, and we had a blast,” Blige said to hosts Gayle King, Tony Dokoupil, Nate Burleson, and Vlad Duthiers, adding “But [New York] is my home.”

The multiday celebration, presented by Pepsi and Live Nation Urban, includes workshops, panels, a comedy show, gospel brunch, and performances, including 50 Cent, Jill Scott, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Muni Long, and Funk Master Flex, is produced by Blige’s team of all Black women — an intentional move on Blige’s part.

“Black women are the most overlooked, underpaid, undervalued, and underestimated,” says Blige. “We’re always behind the scenes, but nobody really wants to give us the credit, and I wanted to put that on blast and let people know this amazing thing that we’re doing.”

Blige also talked to “CBS Mornings” about her love for her Black female fan base, her current emotional state, her relationship status, and how she manages to stay positive. We have included her comments below.

The importance of her Black female fan base

“[The festival] is to celebrate women the way they celebrate me. I was looking out at the audience at my concert one day, and the women hung onto every word I said. They celebrate me in a way that helped me build my confidence through the years. I wanted to do something for them. I’m doing this by celebrating the most important weekend for women — Mother’s Day weekend — so I want to honor and educate them. I educate people through my flaws. I’ve empowered women through my failures and my triumphs. That’s basically what this is about creating a movement for us where we educate, elevate, and empower women.”

Happiness and real love

“I love myself, pay attention to myself, and am self-aware. And I know when to let go of something. I’m happy. And I’m finally happy with Mary J. Blige. That’s the real love I have been searching for all my life!”

She still believes in love

“I wrote the song ‘Still Believe In Love’ during my divorce in 2016. I was trying to believe in something other than what I was living in. I was dealing with self-hate. I started this journey during that marriage. I still believe in love, and I’m not going to give up on love. I’m not going to give up on romance; I’m not going to give up on myself. I’m in love. I believe I deserve a good relationship.”

On understanding the law of attraction

“If you believe something, that’s going to happen to you. If I believe something positive, that’s going to occur to me. I am not saying that life is not full of negative things, but I know how to keep those things away from me. It’s not easy, but I’m doing it.”

What she would tell her younger self 

“Little Mary was always so afraid. I wish I could have told her that all of this was coming. She was always afraid of something big, but she didn’t know the big thing was herself. It was me who I was afraid of, and it was my success.”

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