Legend Award Recipient: Mary J. Blige

Iconic Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, Oscar-nominated actress, producer and philanthropist, Mary J. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making her one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), two Academy Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, and a SAG nomination, among many other accolades, Blige has cemented herself as a global superstar. And in the ensuing years, the singer/songwriter has attracted an intensely loyal fan base—responsible for propelling worldwide sales of more than 50 million albums.

Influenced at an early age by the music of Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight, Blige brought her own gritty, urban-rooted style—fusing hip-hop, soul and honest, frank lyrics—to the forefront on her 1992 debut album What’s the 411? The multi-platinum set, executive produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs, quickly spun off several hits, including two No. R&B No. 1s: You Remind Me and Real Love. Blige helped redefine R&B and began forging a unique niche for herself on the more personal second album, 1994’s My Life. She is loved for her passionate, chart-topping hits like “Be Without You”, “No More Drama” and “Family Affair” all of which have made her a force in music.

Each subsequent album reads like a chapter from an autobiography: Share My World (1997), Mary (1999), No More Drama (2001), Love & Life (2003), the multiple Grammy-winning and hit-spewing The Breakthrough (2005), Growing Pains (2007), Stronger with Each Tear (2009), My Life II... The Journey Continues (2011), A Mary Christmas (2013), The London Sessions (2014), Strength of a Woman (2017) and Good Morning Gorgeous (2022). Along the way, she’s lined up a string of hit singles, including Not Gon’ Cry, Love Is All We Need, Seven Days, All That I Can Say, Family Affair, Just Fine and U + Me (Love Lesson).

In the summer of 2019, Blige was honored with the BET Lifetime Achievement award, and completed a U.S Summer tour with New York rapper Nas.

In late 2021, Blige released the first two singles off her 15th studio album, “Amazing (feat. DJ Khaled)” and “Good Morning Gorgeous, followed by “Rent Money (feat. Dave East)” in January of 2022. This all led up to the release of her latest studio album “Good Morning Gorgeous,” which dropped on February 11th. The album release led into a historic performance at the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA alongside Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar on February 13th. Following the success of this performance, Blige and Pepsi announced the inaugural “Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit” in partnership with Live Nation Urban. The festival will take place in Atlanta, GA over Mother’s Day weekend with three days devoted to music, comedy, and community building. In addition to Blige herself, confirmed performers include Chaka Khan, Xscape, Ella Mai, City Girls and Kiana Lede among many others.

On the acting side, Blige starred as Florence Jackson in the 2017 Netflix breakout film Mudbound, to which she received critical acclaim including two Academy Award nominations for Best Support Actress and Best Original Song. She starred in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy,” which premiered on the platform in February 2019.

In April 2020, Blige voiced “Queen Essence” in Dreamworks’ TROLLS WORLD TOUR movie, and starred in Paramount’s Body Cam, alongside Nat Wolff, that was released digitally in May 2020. Blige dropped a new single entitled “Can’t Be Life,” an original song for Body Cam that speaks candidly to the current times and is featured over the end credits of the film. Blige is currently starring in STARZ’s POWER BOOK II: GHOST, a television series inspired by the original show, POWER, that premiered on the network in September 2020. POWER BOOK II: GHOST aired its second season earlier this year and has been renewed for a third.

On the producing side, Blige launched her production company, Blue Butterfly, and signed a first-look TV deal with Lionsgate. Blige Executive Produced Lifetime’s The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel. The biopic marked the highest-rated original movie for Lifetime since 2016.

Blige has also entered the fashion and beauty realm with her jewelry line “Sister Love” with long-time friend Simone I. Smith and her “Love Me” lipstick line with MAC Cosmetics. Blige also launched her own wine collection, Sun Goddess Wines, in collaboration with the internationally prestigious Fantinel Winery. The collection currently includes three wines that are now available nationwide: an Italian Pinot Grigio Ramato, an Italian Sauvignon Blanc and an Italian Prosecco.

In 2020, Blige wrote and performed a new song for the celebrated documentary Belly of the Beast entitled “See What You’ve Done.” The documentary uncovers illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons in the Department of Corrections in California and was filmed over a period of seven years. Blige also recently starred as Dinah Washington in the Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, alongside Jennifer Hudson, which was released in August 2020.

Last year, Blige worked with Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth and Amazon on the documentary “Mary J Blige's My Life” celebrating the 25th anniversary of her famed album My Life. Blige is not only the subject of the documentary, where she reflects on her nearly 30-year career within the music industry, but also served as an Executive Producer through her own production company Blue Butterfly. She also wrote an original song for the documentary, Hourglass. The documentary was released via Amazon Prime Video on June 25, 2021.

To purchase tickets to the 2022 Clio Music Awards ceremony click here.