Legendary Bronx-born songstress Mary J. Blige’s body of music has served as the soundtrack for many lives, and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is being recognized by Time for using her artistry to transform the realm of entertainment. Blige has been named one of the publication’s 100 Most Influential People of 2022.
When Blige stepped onto the music scene, over three decades ago, she captivated fans with her authenticity and distinct style. Merging grace and New York City grit, her soul-infused songs encapsulated truth-packed lyrics over vibrant hip-hop beats and nostalgic melodies. The songs in Blige’s catalog—which spans generations—are illustrative of love, pain, perseverance, and self-acceptance and above all have made listeners unequivocally feel seen and heard. She has eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards, and has sold over 50 million albums. Through her work, she’s taken her fans along with her on a journey towards healing.
Her imprint transcends far beyond music. Her acting credits include films like Mudbound, the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, and Power Book II. She has also launched her own production company Blue Butterfly. On the business side, Blige has ventured into the wine, jewelry and makeup industries. Staying true to her mission to empower, uplift and inspire, she launched the Strength of a Woman summit to celebrate BIPOC women shifting the arts and culture.
In honor of her Time nod, hip-hop giant Nas penned a profile feature highlighting Blige’s impact and influence. “She carved out a lane for herself, and now she can feed the people more than just music,” the rapper wrote. “She has a lot more to offer, from her incredible acting career to her wine brand to the Strength of a Woman festival she just launched in Atlanta. And I feel like she’s just getting started. She’s who we wanted her to be, and even more. She became who she’s supposed to be.”
Other influential Black women featured on the list include Faith Ringgold, Jazmine Sullivan, Quinta Brunson, Oprah Winfrey and Issa Rae. News about Blige’s honor comes a week after she received the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards.