All hail the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.
Mary J. Blige did the damned thing Sunday night during the BET Awards where she was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. It was most deserving.
Mary – whose music has become the soundtrack for black culture, at least for my generation – did her own tribute, performing most of the songs that we have grown to love over her nearly 30 years in show business.
She first stepped on the scene in 1992 with her album, What’s the 411. So, it was only fitting for her to open her set with My Life. That song immediately transported me back to the early 90s. Oh, sweet nostalgia.
Mary wouldn’t be Mary without her signature blonde hair and thigh high boots. She didn’t disappoint. You could tell that the audience was loving every minute. Every time the camera panned to the crowd, they were dancing and singing along to Mary’s hits.
What I especially appreciated, beyond the musical trip down memory lane, were the fashions, 90s dance moves and of course, Mary’s decision to bring out rappers Method Man and Lil Kim to the stage. That’s when I lost it.
Method sounded just as good as he did years ago when he and Mary debuted You’re All I Need – a gritty, hip-hop fused update of the Aretha Franklin classic, You’re All I Need To Get By. And Mary and Lil Kim sang to I Can Love You, by far one of the best rap collaborations ever.
One of the things I especially enjoyed, was Mary giving all honour to God. You could tell that while she works hard, she believes God deserves the credit. As a believer, I so appreciated that.
Tyler Perry’s Speech Was Everything
Tyler Perry’s speech Sunday night sent me into overload. Tyler received the Ultimate Icon Award.
Actress Taraji P. Henson, who is his friend and frequent collaborator, told the audience that Tyler was the first person to pay her what she was worth. She said that was an important point for her because a black man was able to do that.
Tyler is known for hiring many minority entertainers and keeping them employed. He is also one of the most generous entertainers in show business today.
Take a look at his powerful speech, as he tells the story of his upbringing and drops some knowledge about his now famous studio in Atlanta, GA.
That entire speech brought tears to my eyes. It’s also a testament of what God, determination, discipline and a willingness to do great things can do.
I have never been so proud to be black. Hopefully seeing all of that melanin magic on stage will inspire a new generation of black people to be all they can be.