R&B singer Mary J. Blige gave back to her hometown of Yonkers, New York earlier this week, when she opened her new facility, the Mary J. Blige Center for Women.
Blige and Hip-Hop mogul Steve Stoute founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) in 2008, as a way to encourage women by supporting educational programs, career development, self-esteem and personal growth.
Blige and Stoute are initially concentrating the foundation’s focus on Yonkers and the surrounding communities of West Chester, although plans are underway to service the entire country.
Blige announced the center’s opening during an emotionally charged press conference, that brought the R&B singer to tears.
“When I was 5-years-old there was a lot that happened to me that I carried all my life,” a tear eyed Blige said. “When I was growing up after that I saw so many women almost beaten to their death by men. I heard them screaming next door in my apartment building where I lived. I would walk outside and I would see them being slapped so hard, it looked like their head was gonna come off….and it wasn’t just in poverty that I seen this abuse, it was everywhere.”