Mary J. Blige, to me, is the true definition of the strength of a woman. She’s been from the bottom, to the top, to the bottom and back up to the top. Blige, 42, has been an indomitable force in the music business for more than two decades, ever since Sean “Diddy” Combs, her friend, mentor, and executive producer of her first album, took her under his professional wing. She has gone on to sell more than 50 million albums and is the only artist to have won Grammy Awards in four categories (R&B, Rap, Gospel, and Pop), having been nominated for the award 29 times, and winning nine. She has also begun an acting career. She’s been in the requisite Tyler Perry movie and last fall completed the upcoming Lifetime Network film Betty and Coretta, about the widows of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., in which she stars as Dr. Betty Shabazz opposite Angela Bassett’s Coretta Scott King.
She’s featured in the newest issue of LA Confidential where she leaves no stone unturned as she dishes on her past drug use, including sniffing cocaine at the Grammy’s, and how she used alcohol to cover up the issues that she had within herself. She blames her drug addiction on being molested when she was just five years old and says she is still reminded of the incident when she smells a certain type of lotion. She also reveals how she was affected by Whitney Houston’s death and why she never sought out rehab to help her with her drug and alcohol abuse.
KEVIN SESSUMS: I think a lot of Betty Shabazz’s empathetic—even wounded—dignity can be traced back to when she was the daughter of an unwed teenager herself back in Detroit. Can your empathy, your dignity, be traced back to your own wounded childhood?
MJB: I still have the child within me. She’s more around now than ever. She wasn’t around in the early days because I was pushing her back. I didn’t want anybody to hurt her.
KS: Somebody did hurt you. You were molested. I’ve written about my own molestation—though some people think those kinds of things should be kept to oneself. Read the rest of this page »