Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Mary J. Blige Empowers with ‘Strength of a Woman’ Festival & Summit | PICs

Mary J Blige
Mary J. Blige attends Strength Of A Woman Festival – (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Strength Of A Woman Festival & Summit)

*Mary J. Blige, the iconic Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter, found inspiration in the depths of her own struggles. It was the turmoil of her divorce from ex-husband and former manager Kendu Isaacs that fueled her 2017 LP, “Strength of a Woman.”

“When I made that album, I was pissed off because I was paying alimony every day,” Blige, 53, shared. “I was in the middle of a terrible divorce. But, you know, I always speak things into existence — even when I’m going through a bad time — and I had to speak strength into myself.”

Her resilience transcended personal hardship into a powerful movement. Blige transformed her pain into empowerment with the Strength of a Woman Festival & Summit, an event that took over New York City on Mother’s Day weekend.

As a newly crowned 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Blige epitomizes strength and resilience, qualities echoed throughout the festival.

The festival, a collaborative effort between Blige, Pepsi, Live Nation Urban, and MVD Inc., aimed to inspire and create opportunities for Black women and people of color.  Through workshops, panels, and performances, attendees delved into topics ranging from mental health to financial literacy.

Taraji P Henson
Taraji P. Henson – (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Reflecting on the electrifying weekend, Blige expressed gratitude: “This past weekend was a whirlwind in the best way possible. Getting to bring this home to NYC is something I won’t forget.” The event attracted a star-studded lineup, including Taraji P. Henson, Method Man, Larenz Tate, Jess Hilarious and more.

Tasha Smith and Jazmyn Summers (instagram)
Tasha Smith and Jazmyn Summers (Instagram)

The summit, held at The Glasshouse, drew over 4,000 attendees. Panels such as “Girl Talk with MJB” and “Our Men Honor the Strength of a Woman” celebrated the bonds of friendship among Black women and explored crucial issues from wealth building to Black women’s health.

Jazmyn Summers and Fat Joe (instagram)
Jazmyn Summers and Fat Joe (Instagram)

The festival’s grand finale at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn featured electrifying performances by Blige and an ensemble of music icons including 50 Cent, Jill Scott, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Lola Brooke, Busta Rhymes, and Funk Flex, embodying the essence of Hip Hop. Blige’s vision for the festival to find its home in New York has come to fruition after two years in Atlanta.

“We need some kind of a hug sometimes,” she remarked. “And this is a hug for our culture.”

Mary J. Blige as she captivates the crowd with her iconic hits during her performance on the first day of the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa, on July 28, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Blue Note Jazz Festival)
Mary J. Blige as she captivates the crowd with her iconic hits during her performance on the first day of the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa, on July 28, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Blue Note Jazz Festival)

Blige’s journey from personal turmoil to global empowerment serves as a testament to the strength of a woman and the transformative power of music and community. As the festival continues to grow, its impact resonates far beyond the stages of New York City, inspiring individuals worldwide to find strength in adversity and solidarity in the community.

Interview/article by Jazmyn Summers. Follow her @jaztalk1 on Instagram, and Facebook. And please don’t forget to subscribe to Jazmyn Summers’ YouTube.

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