Mary J. Blige Gets Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star On Her Birthday

Jan 12, 2018
Originally published on January 12, 2018 6:24 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mary J. Blige is having a moment. The nine-time Grammy-winning singer has been getting lots of award nominations for acting in the film "Mudbound." NPR's Mandalit del Barco was on the scene yesterday as she was honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I love you, Mary.

(CHEERING)

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Hundreds of fans lined Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Shake Shack and SoulCycle to greet the woman known as the queen of hip-hop soul.

(SOUNDBITE OF MARY J. BLIGE SONG, "FAMILY AFFAIR")

DEL BARCO: Wearing a chic black pantsuit, Mary J. Blige beamed before her newest accolade.

MARY J. BLIGE: God has put my name on a star.

DEL BARCO: A sidewalk star honoring her musical career, including multi-platinum albums and hit singles, such as "Real Love," "Not Gon' Cry" and "Family Affair."

BLIGE: I'm so grateful for this star right now because I've earned it probably three times. But I'm so grateful that I have it (laughter).

(CHEERING)

BLIGE: And I say that with confidence and not arrogance. I say that because I know it now, and I know my worth. And I understand what this means. Thank you so much.

DEL BARCO: Blige reflected on how far she'd come from her roots in the Bronx and Yonkers.

BLIGE: Growing up in the projects, I just loved to sing. It set me free from all of the negativity and confusion that was happening outside of our home.

DEL BARCO: Blige thanked those who stuck by her through hard times, including her divorce, which she chronicled in her most recent album "Strength Of A Woman."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SURVIVOR")

BLIGE: (Singing) No matter how low I go, I'm going to rise up.

DEL BARCO: During the ceremony, Blige was honored by Andre Harrell, who first signed her up to his label Uptown Records in 1989. He told about the first time he listened to a tape recording of her.

ANDRE HARRELL: I heard the truth. I said, who is this young girl singing with all this emotion and pain?

DEL BARCO: Harrell had Sean Diddy Combs produce her debut album in 1992. The hip-hop mogul was also on hand to honor her.

SEAN COMBS: We been through a whole lot. We started from nothing. I used to pick Mary up from the projects, and we would just drive down the highway in New York and just - we would just dream. We would say, like, man, we want to be somebody. We want to be big. We want to be something for our people. And we want to come and shake up the world. And we did that.

DEL BARCO: Combs also led the crowd in singing to her.

COMBS: (Singing) Happy birthday to you.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing) Happy birthday to you.

COMBS: Louder.

(Singing) Happy birthday to you.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing) Happy birthday to you.

DEL BARCO: Mary J. Blige is now 47 years old.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.