Mary J. Blige is opening up about her personal growth and transformation while paying homage to the late Maya Angelou.
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Mary J. Blige Speaks On Her Personal Development
The 52-year-old singer sat down for an exclusive interview with Glamour published on Wednesday, November 1. During the conversation, Blige said she’s not an “overnight success.”
Additionally, she added that fans are witnessing a “new” her.
“This is not an overnight success,” Blige explained. “This is not an easy thing, this new me, this new Mary. This is hard work.”
The singer seemingly explained that upkeeping the “new Mary” is “hard work” because of all she’s been through.
“When you’re happy and you’re strong, and you’ve been…[as] miserable as I’ve been in life and went through as much hell, it’s easy to revert back to the residue,” the 52-year-old shared. “It’s easy to revert back to the past because that’s what you knew. Because you know the pain of the past will always try to pull you back.”
During the interview, Blige recounted adjusting to the hardships of growing up in the Schlobohm Houses in Yonkers, New York, with her mother and sister after being raised by her grandparents in Richmond Hill, Georgia.
In addition to dealing with her parent’s divorce, Blige would also have to cope with the trauma of “childhood sexual abuse.” In adulthood, Blige would marry her former manager, Kendu Isaacs, in 2003.
However, during the marriage, Blige learned that Isaacs allegedly mishandled her funds and she owed the IRS “so much money” she thought she’d never “get out of debt.”
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The pair would ultimately divorce in 2018.
The Singer Shares How Maya Angelou Inspired Her To Feel Like A “Phenomenal Woman”
Elsewhere during the conversation with Glamour, Blige also shared how the late poet Maya Angelou inspired her to view herself as a “phenomenal woman.”
“She always spoke about a phenomenal woman,” Blige explained. “I had never in my life even been able to look at myself as a great woman, but now I look at myself as a phenomenal woman, and I believe that it’s because of things that Maya Angelou did for us, and how she spoke about women.”
Additionally, Blige credited her mother for “never” letting “herself go” despite her personal ordeals.
“She was single and hurting and everything, but she never let herself go,” the singer explained. “I never saw my mother looking bad. She took care of her skin day and night, she took care of her body, she took care of her mind, and she never let us see her in no kind of pain, you know? We never saw that. We always saw her keep herself beautiful.”
As the interview continued, Blige explained that she put Angelou’s inspiration to work by “collecting herself.”
“Well, that phenomenal woman thing just started happening,” the 52-year-old shared. “When I was first in the music business, I was not this woman who thinks she’s phenomenal. I learned to collect myself, the good, the bad, the ugly. Everything about me. [I was like,] Gosh, it hurts to look at all the things that are not right with me, but it’s me. And if I can’t look at it, I can’t fix it.”
Moving forward, Blige plans to encourage others to embrace change through her music, she says.
“I want to tell stories of progress and going through the process of getting better, of going through the pain of change,” Blige told Glamour. “Because change is painful. But being stuck and stagnant is painful as well.”
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