Mary J Blige's My Life (2021) Movie Script


(cheering, applause)
WOMAN (over speakers):
Get on your feet right now.
-Come on, now.
-(crowd cheering)
The recipient of the 2019
Lifetime Achievement Award...
Nominated for 31 Grammys.
MAN: A double Oscar nominee
this morning.
She is a global superstar
who has won nine Grammy Awards
and sold over 50 million albums.
the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
LL COOL J: She created a new
national anthem for women.
WOMAN: The undeniable queen
of hip-hop and R&B,
Mary J. Blige!
(cheering continues)
-(camera flash echoes)
-(cheering fades)
All right.
It feels really good
to be at this point in my career
and have done so much,
between music, TV, philanthropy.
Get that chin up
a little bit more.
Nice. Bring that face around
for me right here.
MARY: Ive done
pretty much everything
that Ive-Ive always
wanted to do.
Nice. Stay right there, Mary.
MARY: But success comes
when you are successful inside.
For a long time, I didnt know
I was successful outside
because I was a-a wreck inside.
Because, when I was growing up
in the neighborhood we lived in,
it was like,
"You better not dream it.
You better not hope it."
And so my mission has been
to actually help women
to believe in themself
and help, you know, help myself
believe in myself
and live out things
and let people,
especially women,
see how I come through em.
-(indistinct chatter)
-(man whoops)

I have 13 albums,
but my second album, My Life,
is the most important
because there was a lot in me,
and there was a lot wrong,
and there was a lot
I needed to get out.
(lively chatter)
The My Life album was
probably my darkest album
at one of the darkest
time in my life.
Ive had plenty dark times,
though, since then,
but this was like
a turning point.
This was a decision I had
to make, either live or die.
Most of the times,
I was just depressed
and didnt want to live
because I didnt love myself.
(crowd cheering)
I didnt know that so many
people felt the same way.
-How you doing, sweetie?
-How you doing?
-Im good. How are you?
-How you doing?
MARY: This album was
very important to them,
and they make me remember
that Im not the only one
going through the things
that Im going through.
-Youre my inspiration.
-Thank you.
Thank you so much
for everything.
Oh, youre welcome, baby.
(crowd cheering)
Thank you so much
for all this love.
(cheering continues)
Yall know how real it is.
My life is real, real, real.
And this is just filling me up.
Thank you so much.
(cheering continues)
(whoops) Mary!
Her vulnerability
and her courageousness
to share, um,
for me, for my daughters,
thats what I want them to see.
I want them to see that
they can express theirselves.
Her image, you know, her story,
how she tells it,
so raw, so vulnerable, so bold
and unafraid to be who she is,
she made it okay for people to
say, "Its all right to be me."
(crowd cheering)
MARY: And I always wanted
to see women do better,
be stronger, be beautiful,
believe in themselves.
(cheering continues)
Its been 25 years since
I put the My Life album out
and I started
speaking to my fans.
And its a place
where I survived.
So its, um, its very important
to be here to tell that story.
(cheering continues)
(cheering fades)

Life can be
only what you make it
When youre feeling down
You should never fake it
Say whats on your mind
And youll find, in time
That all the negative energy
It would all cease
And youll be at peace
with yourself
Mm, mm, mm
You wont really need
no one else
Except for the man
up above, yeah
Because hell give you love
If you looked into my life
If you looked in my life
and see what Ive seen...
("Everybody Loves the Sunshine"
by Roy Ayers Ubiquity playing)
My life, my life,
my life, my life
In the sunshine...
MARY: The My Life journey
started with
"Everybody Loves the Sunshine"
by Roy Ayers.
I dont know
whats in that record,
but there was something in it
that just cracked open
everything in me.
Everybody loves
the sunshine...
That was the first music, as
a child, that stuck with me...
...because it made me forget
that we lived where we lived.
Folks get down
in the sunshine...
That sound used to
just drive me nuts.
MARY: My life, my life,
my life, my life
In the sunshine
Its something about
"in the sunshine," I--
-"my life in the sunshine."
-(song fades)
Just made me want to...
(voice breaking):
that record made me...
Im sorry.
That record made me feel
something like-like
I-I could have something.
But I couldnt
get my hands on it,
but like I could have something.
"My life in the sunshine"
was something I wanted.

This is where we was
-when I first heard that song.
-Wow. -Yeah.
-This little girl is the person
that heard that song. -No.
-Thats what Daddy listened to.
Dad was about that music life,
and he made sure we d-digest
every kind of music
he loved or he liked.
-Both of them, him and Mommy.
-My dad had
-Grateful Dead albums.
-Yeah, rock.
Like, we would go look
at his music, and itd be
all types of shit in there.
-Be heavy funk
and rock and roll. -(laughs)
Like, I was like,
"Heavy funk and rock and roll?
-"What is this?
-What is this stuff?"
-Thats what Daddy listened to.
Yeah. -Yeah.
XENOS: Thats what molded
and shaped you
into what you do today.
The influences in your past,
your roots.
-MARY: Wait. Yeah, this isnt--
-This is Hastings.
-LaTONYA: Hastings.
-Wow. -MARY: I was four,
and LaTonya was five.
And when we was about seven, we
moved to Schlobohm. -Schlobohm.

My parents had gotten divorced,
and my dad, he was
my-my friend, you know?
I really loved him.
And so, when he was gone,
it was very sad for me.
We moved to
a violent environment,
and it was rough for my mom,
as a single-parent mom
trying to raise two girls.
-Mommy. My mom.
-My beautiful mother.
MARY: Although we had love,
my mom and my sister and I,
from the first day
we moved there,
we had to fight
the kids in the neighborhood.
And in that environment,
I dont know how she did it.
She was a nurse and wanted
to take care of her family.
But she sang, too.
My mother used to sing
around the house
and... dance and everything,
so thats why Mary
get all her little dances.
("Clean Up Woman"
by Betty Wright playing)
She would play
The Staple Singers
and Gladys Knight
or Aretha Franklin
and walk around the house
singing "The Clean Up Woman."

A cleanup woman
Is a woman who
Gets all the love
we girls leave behind...
MARY: Anything my mom did,
she would sound just like em,
and she was so beautiful to me.
I just always wanted to be her.
I wanted to look like her.
I wanted to sing
the way she did.
So take a tip,
you better get hip...
I would go to the mirror
with a brush and sing
and try to mimic anybody
my mother listened to.
Shes tough
I mean,
she really cleans up.
(song fades)

But it wasnt like
I was running around,
telling everybody
I was gonna be a singer.
I would just sing loud,
just sing.
But I didnt dream big or think
for a moment that it was like,
"Okay, Im gonna be
this big star,"
because our environment
didnt tell us that.
Our environment told us
that this is it.
I was the little girl
that looked at certain artists
and certain things
on commercials
and television shows and movies
and wish that I had
certain things.
But in that neighborhood,
someone will get jealous or mad
at you for having something,
you know?
For having a smile,
for having a dream.
If I was ever dreaming,
I didnt dream anymore,
especially when
we became teenagers.
It just got worse, so I said,
"Im not gonna let these people
see me smiling too much.
Matter of fact, theyre never
gonna see me smiling."
I never smiled
when I was a teenager.
I think people dont understand,
about the families
that live in the projects,
is that its like prison.
Its like a prison
inside a prison inside a prison.
Its people hurting people,
hurting each other.
People are just,
like, suffering.
And the men were so horrible
towards women.
I remember hearing
women being beaten.
My mother was
one of those women,
so I remember her pain.
I carried her pain.
I carried the neighbors pain.
I carried people
all over the environments pain.
And I carried my own pain.
-I didnt ask to come here
I didnt ask
to get treated badly
I didnt ask to get molested
I didnt ask
to get knocked, too
I didnt ask to get
knocked up
Daddy, Daddy
Daddy, why?
Why did you leave us?
Oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh...
Growing up
in an environment like that,
there were so many things that
could happen to a little girl,
and you just turned to anything
that can numb you
from feeling sad,
from feeling depressed,
from feeling hatred,
from feeling self-hate,
just so much.
So you turn to substance abuse.
You turn to whatever
makes you feel good.
And thats what we did.
We drank.
We went to the pier,
my friends Mushie and Pidgey,
and we would go to the pier, and
we would drink our pain away.
Because I dont even understand
why were living here.
How did we get here?
Were not supposed to be here.
My mom is not
supposed to be struggling.
Shes not supposed to be
by herself.
Shes not supposed to be
a woman in this environment
going through this hell.
Singing was the escape for me.

Singing made me forget
that we were struggling so much.
It just made me forget
that I was going through
what I was going through.
Even as a little girl,
I was-- had insecurities,
and I was always blue
and always sad,
but singing made me feel free.
And thats what I had.
Thats what I held onto.
I had to see you, baby
I never ran so fast before
I rushed inside
the chapel door
You were waiting all alone
You turned around
and heard me call
She never was afraid to sing.
Like, I remember
she used to sing outside
and just do--
like, she never was shy.
One for me
Oh-oh, oh-oh.
(song ends)
And sometimes in the mall,
they-they have this, uh,
little studio thing.
You make a little,
um, tape for yourself.
You know, like a studio.
They had, like, a little studio
but in the mall.
So you make your little tape,
pay your little money.
And she went.
My cousin went with her.
And I sang
"Caught Up in the Rapture."
brought the tape home.
We listened to it.
We was like,
"Ooh, you sound good."
And stepfather listened to it
and was like,
"I want to give this
to my friend,
"cause hes in
the music business, you know?
Hes a singer."
And it was, it was Jeff Redd.
When I heard the-the demo
at the time,
you know, I heard the pain
of a generation.
Thats what it was
with her because...
it was like 89.
That was right at the tail end
of the crack era.
And a lot of the kids
that were growing up then
were raising themselves.
And when Mary
opened her mouth and sang,
it spoke to a generation of
children and kids that were
coming up out of that era.

The head of A&R at Uptown
was pestering me all day,
knocking on my door.
I was like,
"Whats so important, Kurt?"
He said, "Just listen to this.
And he put, uh, Mary J. Blige.
And she was singing
Anita Baker, and...
I was like, "Who is this?"
"Shes 19 years old."
"Wheres she living?" "Yonkers."
I said, "Im coming tomorrow."

MARY: I remember that day
like it was yesterday.
He was downstairs in, um,
I think it was a black BMW.
HARRELL: I remember I was
driving a four-dour BMW 750,
and I pulled up in the projects.
I was wearing sky blue pants,
white Gucci loafers
and a black-and-white silk
cheetah shirt with big glasses.
MARY: He had a black-and-white
polka dot shirt on.
And I was afraid for him
because he was
this very wealthy man that was
in this neighborhood that was...
And I was like, you know,
"Come on. (chuckles)
Come on." I was just waving him
across the street.
So, we got on the elevator,
came upstairs, and...
...he said, "Sing."
When we met
Always knew
I would feel that magic
for you...
MARY: I guess my mom
was standing there.
I guess people were all around,
but all I can remember
is him and what I had to do,
because I zone everything out
to sing.
And I sang the whole
Anita Baker Rapture album.
I love you here by me, baby
You let my love
fly freely...
MARY: And he was just
staring at me and going,
"Oh, my God."
I remember saying to Mary,
her mother and her sister that,
"Your daughter Mary,
shes gonna sing for royalty.
"Your daughter Mary,
"shes gonna be down
with the kings
and queens of rock and roll."
I was like,
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right."
Because at any moment,
somebody could just pull
the rug up from under you.
Thats how-- thats
the environment we lived in.
Whether or not she believed
all of it could come true,
I believe, in her heart,
with that talent she had,
she knew that she was destined
for something bigger than
being in the house.
I love you here by me,
baby, baby
Oh, you let my love fly
so free, free, Anita...
I told her that, um,
"Were gonna sign you.
Welcome to Uptown Records."
-For all time
-For all time
(both vocalizing)
Caught up in the rapture of
-Sing, girl. (vocalizing)
-No, no, no, I love you
Come on, take it away.
-Take it away. Take it away.
-(crowd cheering)
(scatting "Sweet Love")
Dont you cry,
dont you cry on me
I promise I wont cry
I love you. I love you.
-(song ends)
-(crowd cheering)
Thank you!
-Push it high.
-Anita Baker is my angel.

-(sputtering lips)
-(indistinct chatter)
This will be good first for me,
second for me, if it works.
So many people around me
knew what was coming.
Knew what I had in me.
(crowd cheering)
How you doing?
-Hello. Hey, ladies.
I was 14.
I heard "You Remind Me,"
the first video
where she had the peach bustier
and the suit, oh,
and there was nothing like it.
To see a woman from
a background similar to mine
being a moving,
actualized woman,
it gave me so much hope.
I love your music,
and youve been
an inspiration to me
since I was a little girl.
-I know you hear it
all the time. -Thank you.
Thank you so much.
WOMAN: All right, guys,
look right over here.
Perfect. Beautiful!
-Thank you so much.
-Youre welcome.
MARY: They thought I was
more talented than I believed.
-Hi. How are you?
MARY: They knew me
before I knew myself.
-I love you.
-Oh, you look good.
We are two of your biggest fans.
Thank you.
When I first met Mary,
I was working at Uptown.
She came to my office
and she sung a cappella for me.
(Mary vocalizing)
COMBS: It was just
this raspy, like, gutter,
ghetto tone, pain,
like just everything
that was going on,
cause there was a lot of pain
in the streets.
(Mary continues vocalizing)
COMBS: And there was
a lot of young Black women
who could relate
to where she came from.
They didnt have
no voice out there.
Then, man, this girl from
Schlobohm projects
with a attitude,
thatll fight you,
that got a slash on her face,
she got a cut on her face,
like, "Man."
I was like,
"She is gonna be big,
nobody sounds like her."
He believed in me
more than I believed in myself.
I didnt know what I had,
who I was, but he knew.
And he helped me to believe
that I was a real artist,
and I needed that.
I needed that push.
I needed that pep talk.
I needed that, "You got it, sis.
You can do it.
Im proud of you."
I needed everything he gave me,
because I was very insecure.
NAS: Mary coming out of
Schlobohm projects,
she has one foot there,
struggling to get out,
and one foot
in the recording studio,
with this opportunity to
give this voice to the world.
HARRELL: For Puff, this was
early on in his career,
and he was looking to stand out
and make a name for hisself
within Uptown.
And we were very supportive of,
"You go ahead, do that.
Well provide the resources
so you can kill that."
(quiet chatter)
The last one you-- when I told--
the thing I told you
before you went in there,
I said, "Say it like you know it
and be confident with it,"
and thats how you were
singing the whole way through.
-That was good about it.
MARY: I didnt even know
what I was doing,
because I was in survival mode,
meaning, like, I had
to save my family, you know.
I had to make sure that they
were all out of the projects
and they were good, and I was
singing for my life, literally.
At the end of the chorus,
you had just said a little bit
more at the end of the chorus
-on the, on the one before that.
-Okay, cool.
at the studio with Puffy,
and we spent
a lot of time together.
We quickly became like sisters.
Misa was my girl,
the mother of my first son,
and Misa was just the flyest,
you know?
It was just, like, her cut,
the way she was just
doing her hair, her bob,
the way she was
wearing her swag.
You know what Im saying?
I was like,
"Yo, you should be
a stylist for Mary."
Early in our career,
it was really difficult
to get our foot in the door
with the fashion houses.
First, we were young.
Secondly, we were female.
And then we were
women of color--
young women of color.
("Real Love" playing,
Mary vocalizing)
And so I had to design and
create custom looks for Mary.
And I know that
I saw things in her
that she didnt see in herself,
that she wasnt able
to see in herself yet.
MARY: They saw what I was,
and between her and Puffy,
they gave me
the most iconic looks.
We are lovers
through and through
And though we made it
through the storm...
COMBS: It was unapologetically
Black, real and soulful.
HARRELL: We felt like
we were running a movement,
and the movement was called
Ghetto Fabulous.
And Mary J. Blige was
the queen of this movement.
Be the real love
that I need...
Mary was the first
to bring her own kind
of R&B, hip-hop swag
to the very boy-based rap scene.
I got to have a real love
Real love
Im searching
for a real love...
There wasnt
a lot of R&B singers
singing over hip-hop tracks.
So that-that alone right there
was like, "Oh, okay.
"We can, uh, you know,
we can groove to this.
"We can do our dances
off of this.
"This dont sound like
our mamas music,
but shes singing,
so Mama might like it, too."
Im searching
for a real love.
(song ends)
Im from the hood,
and it was like
dudes had their representation.
They had all of their stories,
but when it came to females,
I just didnt see me.
I didnt see me.
SMITH: At that time, the rule
for Black female artists was
"sing loud
and smooth yourself out."
-(crowd chattering)
-All right,
yall know what
this next record is.
Everybody know what this is.
Mary was like, "I dont know."
-(crowd cheering)
You remind me, yeah
Come on, yall!
You remind me
Of such sweet memories...
Sunday, no bodyguards.
Crowds, like, right there.
You know, were all like... know,
"This is gonna be great."
You know, cause
the records out; its playing.
If-if youre in hip-hop,
you know it, you know.
Shes not a pop star yet,
but shes on her way. (chuckles)
(Mary vocalizing)
Of sweet memories...
COMBS: We went into a lane
that nobody was at,
and so the type of fan hysteria
and her connection
with women was crazy.
(crowd singing along):
You remind me of a love
that I once knew...
We were like,
"Oh, we love this girl.
We love her sound.
Like, who is she?"
And then we saw the video.
("You Remind Me" playing)
And we were like,
"Oh, my God, the hat to the back
with the combat boots
and the tennis skirts."
And it was like she was our
urban girl, hood role model.
Like, we wanted to be
just like her.
I saw something
that weve never seen before
but something we knew existed.
I knew that existed. I was her.
So she gave us a face,
she gave us a name,
she gave us a story,
she humanized us.
SMITH: She was like,
"Im here and Im beautiful,
"and Im hip-hop but Im Mary.
"Im bringing all of Yonkers
with me.
Good, bad, whatever-- Im Mary
and this is what Im doing."
And it was so great for us to
see this authentic Black woman.
I started to feel good
about who I am,
about being a little rougher
around the edges,
about having
a strong point of view.
I felt like I could be
who I actually was
and that that was cool,
that was great.
And in fact, I didnt want to be
like anything else, you know?
You could just be
another girl with a dream
and you could be special.
We didnt see, we didnt--
we still dont get
to see that a lot, you know?
So, for me, as a 13-year-old,
that really gave me a certain,
like, permission that I needed.
Can remember when
("Reminisce" playing)
We had
-We had it all -Reminisce
on the love we had
You and I...
(quiet chatter)
-Hello, everyone.
("Reminisce" playing
over stereo)
You know we had it all
You and I
Reminisce on the love we had
Back then, people put speakers
in the windows.
And blast through
the whole block.
And, um, I heard "Reminisce,"
and I was-- I stopped.
I was like, "Whos that?"
I asked the guy, I was like,
"Who is this?"
"Its a new artist,
Mary J. Blige."
So I definitely went to The Wiz.
Remember the store The Wiz?
-Yes. -The Wiz.
MAN: And I picked
that cassette tape up.
It popped on me,
I played it so much.
-WOMAN: I used to listen
to Whats the 411?
and put the headphones to her
at 15 months.
-And it was so bad to...
She actually thought, like,
Mary was a part of our family.
-As she, as she got older,
shes like, "Wheres-wheres
Mary? Wheres Mary?"
(excited chatter)
Hi, Mary!
I feel like
I know her personally.
Um, I connect with her
through her music.
And I just, I just want
to just hug her.
HARRELL: Shes transcending
in terms of where she was at 19
to where she is riding around
downtown in Manhattan with stars
and being made a star.
And at the same time,
she started a relationship
with K-Ci of Jodeci,
and they started going out.
K-Ci was a proven
church crooner
from eight or nine years old.
He was Little Cedric,
and then became K-Ci of Jodeci.
And I know for her as an artist,
that was a challenge
artistically and vocally
that she needed.
("I Dont Want to Do Anything"
playing, K-Ci vocalizing)
If loving you is
all that I have to do...
Cause shes a kid who grew up
singing in the house.
So now she goes out with a guy,
they can sing in the house,
and she can hear
how strong she is.
(Mary and K-Ci vocalizing)
We will be as one
Just me and you...
MARY: I really liked him,
and when I like you, I like you.
I just fell in love with him.
I will love you
Will you please me, baby?
I will please you
Girl, dont leave me
I wont leave you
Lets make it easy
(both vocalizing)
Oh, yeah, baby.
Thank you.
-(band playing flourish)
-(song ends)
-(cheering continues)
So I think
what Puff gave her
in enthusiasm,
K-Ci and the experience
with Jodeci gave her
the self-confidence to know
that, "Im as good as this,
cause these dudes is amazing."
So I think all those things
at the same time, one,
probably gave her
and-and, two, uh,
probably left her confused, too.

Things had happened so fast,
I didnt even know
they had happened.
You know, I ended up
on tour so quickly.
(crowd cheering)
I ended up
selling all these records
and doing platinum parties.
(crowd cheering)
It was like I was just moving
and didnt know what happened.
I just was there.
My body was just there.
You know, you take a kid
out of the projects,
you sold two million albums.
Now you got to--
you know what Im saying?
Now you got to go here,
you got to go there.
Youre like, "What?"
Everything just went,
went, went, went,
and-and it went very fast,
to where I could tell it was
exciting for her, but I could
also tell it was a little scary.
(wind whistling softly)
MARY: It was kind of like, you
know, "So, what-what is this?"
Im-Im a-- how about this?
Im afraid of it, anyway.
Whatever it is, Im fucking
scared to death of it,
so Im scared to death
of myself.
So... whatever it takes
for me to be comfortable,
if I need to drink some more,
if I need to do some more coke,
whatever way
I need to do to loosen up
and try to take this in.

This shit looks like Schlobohm.
-It looks like Schlobohm.
Th-Them projects, right?
Thats how
all the projects look.
MARY: I think
Schlobohm may look worse.
I remember hearing myself
for the first time on the radio.
I think I said,
"Thank you, Jesus." (chuckles)
I knew I was gonna be able
to get my mom and my sister,
my family
from out of the projects.
But I-I dont remember
feeling happy.
It was definitely a transition,
I think, for all of us,
for our whole family,
from going from dealing with
the day-to-day
of living in the projects
one day hearing Marys records
on the radio,
(laughs): but we still
lived in the projects.
Then the next thing
you know, like,
were moving to a suburb.
It was extreme. (chuckles)
It was an extreme transition.
-(jet engine whirring)
Hi. How you doing, maam?
Frank Dickens is my name.
I measure success for myself
when Im able to,
from the inside,
be happy enough to know
that Im successful,
to know that
I did something great,
to be secure enough to know
that I am great
or I did something great,
and thats why
I can understand it now.
I didnt understand it then
because I wasnt--
I didnt feel like
I was great in my heart.
Its, "Hey, I know
you see me as this person
"and my life looks like
so much fun.
"Well, guess what,
my life sucks, too.
"And, you know, and Im doing
everything I can to make it--
to get over it and get better."
"Well, you have all this money."
Oh, bullshit.
You know what I mean?
I know more people who have
had money, have lost it,
have had it, and they--
doesnt, doesnt change you.
The way they feel inside.
I couldnt even enjoy...
what-what was going on.
I couldnt even
enjoy my success.
And I was in a relationship
where we were both young,
both super successful.
I loved him, you know, but
neither one of us could handle
the success of our lives.
So we became very, um, dark,
the whole thing.
And abusive.

It was, it was
a lot of just m-manipulation.
It was like,
but I was still there.
Like, I dont-- you know.
Im gonna be here. Im-a
dumb myself all the way down.
Im-a play myself
all the way down
so I dont think Im special,
so I can be with you.
When I first met Mary,
she had on, I swear,
you had a sweat suit on
with the little
suede bucket jawn, dude,
-and the Timberland jawns on,
dude. -(laughter)
And was in the corner like this.
I said, "Man, Im not saying
nothing to her, yo.
She be done whupped everybody
head up in this jawn, dude."
When it came to production, I
was pretty much new to the game.
I had a couple of records
out at the time.
And then Puff comes to me,
and hes like,
"Yo, I got this record
to do with Mary,
and if you want to do it,
lets do it."
COMBS: So many people
were coming up to me
and theyd be like,
"You gonna be all right
with the sophomore jinx?"
The sophomore jinx, you know.
People dont usually
come out with a-a album
thats doper than
their first one.
Thats when I hooked up
with Chucky and Bub.
Cant stop the Bub rush.
I was 23 years old.
Im writing
for different artists,
and here comes Puffy like, "Yo,
I need these records for Mary."
Im like, "Okay, cool."
First time we met,
she was so cool.
Elevator door open up,
shes in there with security,
and I came through there
with my, "Yo."
I said, "We bout
to make history.
We bout to make some crack."
She was like this.
"Oh, really?
Well, we gonna see."
I said, "Okay, cool."
I said, "Watch.
Watch, Mary. We bout
to change the whole game."
And the rest is history.
MARY: I always made it where
I controlled the environment.
Its like I didnt
really trust people,
so I didnt like
a lot of people around
unless I knew them and we were
really, really close.
-Yo, whats up?
-How you doing?
Chillin. How are you?
I wasnt even looking at Mary
as, uh, you know,
as this big artist.
I looked at her in the light of
being, like, my extended sister.
And... I just wanted
to make sure she had that royal
but yet still grounded,
hood feeling
about the songs that we were--
or that I was delivering to her.
And at-at that particular time,
you know, it was the early 90s,
so a lot of music
that was happening at that time
reflected 20 years back,
which was the 70s.
Which was really, like, a lot
of Black exploitation films
and just that energy
of street music and street life,
and we embodied that.
Were both from the same
hood or whatever
you want to call it.
People that are in that,
its not all good all the time.
So when you find somebody
thats good,
its like, man.
You know what Im saying?
Its-its good out here
in the world.
So Im-a be real.
When-when that first
411 album came out,
and I know that Puff was
pushing the fashion thing,
and it was like
a little hard-core,
I said, "Hold up, joe.
Its-its more to her
than that."
So, I guess, from the songs
and the way I was coming
with that music,
I-- that was where
my brain was at.
You was dead-on with that shit.
You was dead-on with the dark,
the dark that I was living.
You was dead-on with
the street that I came from.
You was dead-on with the--
-all the shit that I was.
Whats the 411? was dope.
It felt good. It was great.
It was all the stuff,
but by the time
I got to this My Life part
of my life, I was all fucked-up,
and I needed somebody
to understand, through music,
and you-you tr-- you-you did.
You understood.
Her truth came out more
on My Life than Whats the 411?
Whats the 411? came out
real, real dope.
But then when we went to this,
when we went to this
another level of truth,
My Life was
a whole different thing.
The "Be With You" track
-jump-started the whole feeling.
-Yo, thats it, man.
When I heard that--
Puff came to my house in Jersey,
and he-he was like, "Yo, I got
something for you to hear."
He was just, like, you know, all
antsy and, you know, excited.
So I get in the car with Puff,
and it starts.
-(humming "Be With You")
-("Be With You" playing)
And it just grabbed everything
that I was feeling.
And I just, like-- I-I may have
started writing it on the spot.

That record was
the beginning of it all.
It was the beginning of me
spilling myself into this album.
We used to hear that,
like, all day.
Like, thats what she was-- that
was her first, like, first song,
so wed hear that beat
playing all day
and just be in the house,
n-nothing else playing.
You know, shed just be writing,
you know, balling up papers,
I remember when
we made that record.
It was one of the most
unsecured times of our lives.
I was going through
breaking up with Misa.
You know, Mary was going through
a lot of things with K-Ci.
And we was in this studio
in New York
that you could actually see
outside, and it was raining.
I wanna be with you
Does he care for you...
And it was one of those days
where youre walking around
with the tears
balled up in your eyes.
Like, we was kids
that was just heartbroken.
You know what Im saying?
Like-like, really, like, like--
Misa was my heart.
K-Ci was her heart.
And me and her in the studio
looking at each other, crying.
Does he even care...
Wed made a connection
through pain,
and we was like,
from that point on, we was like,
"Fuck that."
Like, "We gonna bring the pain."
I cant deal with
the fact that
You dont want me around
Why you wanna see me down...
MARY: So the whole album,
the whole My Life album is,
"Please, love me.
"Dont go.
I need you."
It was a, it was a cry for help.
I spent all my days
And all my nights with you
Just tell me what am I
gonna do without you...
"Got to believe
that I wont hurt you."
You know, "I never want
to live without you. Dont go."
You know, she was
going through those things.
So were gonna write about it.
And were gonna bring that out.
(Mary laughs)
Bub. (laughing)
Okay, baby.
I love you, Mary.
How you doing? (laughs)
-Good to see you, man.
-Good to see you, baby.
MARY: Being in the studio
with you and doing those songs,
it was healing,
it was what I needed.
And "Never Wanna Live" was
just-- it makes me cry now.
-"Dont Go" makes me cry now.
-Dont start crying.
-Nah, Im not, Im not.
-Dont-dont start.
-Im-a try not to cry.
-Cause-cause Im telling you,
my tears--
Im holding back my tears
cause we cried at the booth.
I know. I remember that.
Ill never forget.
Like this, look.
-And I remember. I-I...
-We was like, we was like this.
-I remember that.
-I was like, "Mary, its good."
I said, "We good."
But the song was so powerful.
-Tears coming out our eyes,
and all I can see,
you, like, nodding like...
And I remember
the pain in my stomach.
Like, it was, it was like pain
and joy all at the same time.
-I cant describe it.
I know I sound like
a crazy person.
-No, you do not.
-But these are the things
that I was feeling.
Just from the beginning
when it started.
-Cant live with -("I Never
Wanna Live Without You" playing)
-It was like...
Cant live without you, baby
Live without you, baby...
She went to the core.
It was cut-and-dry.
It wasnt no watering--
Lets not water nothing down.
Whatever you feeling,
thats what is going down.
(over speakers):
Love is so amazing
I have a man that I want
I prayed so many nights
for you
Come on, you heard.
And then my prayers
came true of you
(Big Bub vocalizing)
Now that I have the answer
Ill be wishing on a star
Ill follow you
where you are
Oh! Oh!
I dont wanna be alone
So, baby,
lets stay together
Stay together
Through any kind
of weather, yeah
-Oh, shit.
Lets make a happy...
Yes, I was begging!
Yeah, you were
for real with yours.
Because you mean
so much to me, baby
Thats why
I wanna be your lady
(Big Bub whoops)
Oh, I said my...
Yo, that record there, man.
That shit fucked me up.
-And then "Dont Go."
-(song ends)
I didnt know
it was gonna do anything.
I-I thought
I would be dead probably.
I was in a dark place myself.
Im drinking more than ever.
You know what Im saying?
I got money.
Im young with money,
traveling the world.
And I was in a place
where I was unhappy.
So it made sense, like...
"Aight, come on,
lets get this out."
You know what Im saying?
Im-Im torn apart, too.
The only thing, I think, that
kept us guided was the music,
-because the music is the thing
that felt good... -Thats right.
-...whether you was too high
or too low. -Mm-hmm.
It just saved you,
because it was all bitter then.
It was-- everything was
bitter, bitter, bitter.
Oh, we was... we were dark.
It was very dark.
When I first met Mary,
we were both going through
the same thing
at the same time with brothers.

They promised us
love and happiness forever,
and were gonna move away
and have kids
and have a family
and... perfect.
And it wasnt perfect.
I have to ask this
really quickly.
Uh, Jodeci were on the show,
uh, earlier on in the series,
and, uh, Terry asked K-Ci
this question.
Have a look at this.
Now, youre gonna break a few
hearts because I-Ive heard
that y-youre gonna marry
Mary J. Blige, are you?
Nah, nah, man.
(crowd exclaiming)
Nah, thats-thats...
thats a rumor.
You know what Im saying?
Thats a rumor for
the States, too, you know.
K-Ci is not getting married,
for the record.
(crowd exclaiming,
women screaming)
So theres
no huge engagement ring?
Oh, there-- yeah, whatever.
-Lets move on please.
-Okay, but now...
-Im disgusted.
LaTONYA: When stuff happened,
Id be like,
"You need to throw--
kick him to the curb
and go find somebody else."
I surely was that sister
saying that and everything.
And I was like,
"Youre better than that
and youre bigger than that."
I-- Sorry, Im not nice.
Im-Im not the nice sister
at all and everything.
I surely was that sister like,
"You know what?
"You dont need nobody treating
you like this and everything.
Now, you can do better."
But its--
when-when youre in love,
you cant hear that.
You cant hear any of that.
She just wanted somebody
to love her, you know?
That time, it was just
such a sad time, you know?
Um, and it was just
back-to-back situations.
Like, it just--
At one point, he came over,
and he was filled with rage.
He was upset.
We dont know why he was upset.
And he started
to physically attack her.
Ive had to physically fight
for my life a lot,
because just like my mom,
Im a fighter.
My mom had to suffer
a lot of physical abuse as well,
so as a little girl, I saw her--
this little woman-- fighting.
So... when it all
started to happen to me, all
I could think about was my mom.
-(crowd cheering)
-(band playing "Im Goin Down")
Time on my hands
Since youve been away, boy
I aint got no plans...
Its not simple
or black-and-white
to just walk out the door when
youre just beyond insecure,
because you think that...
this is the best
that you can get.
And now whatever you think
is love,
which is silly infatuation,
is all you have to hold on to.
And no matter what bad happens,
you dont want
to let this person go
because you feel like
he validates you
or he makes you feel..., I guess, he loves you,
but-but he--
Its-its the craziest thing.
I-I will never understand
why we stay so long.
And I guess its be--
and the insecurity
just makes you think,
"This is it."
Im going down
Im going down
Cause you aint around,
My whole worlds upside down
My whole worlds
upside down
I dont know what to do
with myself
I got too much time
Too much time on my hand,
yall, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Now, now I dont know
what Id do
If I ever lose you
Ill be going down
Yeah, I said
Ill be going down
Down, down, down, down
Oh, no, dont go, dont go
Please forgive me, baby
But Im not sorry,
Im not sorry, Im not sorry
Im not, Im not,
Im not, Im not, Im not
-Im not, Im not, Im not
-(crowd cheering)
Im not sorry.
(band playing flourish)
(music and cheering fades)
The only thing
thats gonna fix your life
is you learning
how to love yourself.
And there was no love.
There was no self-love.

It was just a dark--
one big giant hole of darkness,
and that depression
from that relationship
rewinded life and brought back
a whole bunch of other stuff
that I never dealt with
from things that happened to me
as a child, a little girl.
So it was a snowball, like,
effect, like a-a avalanche,
like a big snowball
picking up things,
you know,
rolling right into my life,
and it landed me in, like,
a really dark, depressed place.
I-I was just trying
to drink my life away,
take drugs till I die,
whatever it was.
Most of the times,
I was just depressed
and didnt want to live.
I stayed away from my mother
because I didnt want her
to see me like that.
I didnt want my sister--
I didnt want anybody
to see me like that,
cause I was falling
completely off the planet.
That feeling of
youre screaming,
but everybody around you is
like, "Oh, you know, its okay,"
because you cant really
tell everybody whats going on.
And youre screaming
and nothings coming out.
("My Life" playing,
Mary vocalizing)
That was all just inspired
from her when she started
picking up the pen and the pad
and started writing
what was in her heart.
She-- I mean, I mean,
she was fighting for her heart.
When she made that album,
she was fighting for her heart.
(Mary vocalizing)
My life, my life...
My life is not in the sunshine.
My life is hell.
My life is me not being able to
get things out of my head from--
that happened to me,
not-not being able
to get being molested
out of my head.
From a childhood,
from being five years old.
Other things that happened
that I will not discuss.
Just so many things happening
to a little girl.
In the sunshine
Life can be
Only what you make it
When youre feeling down
You should never fake it...
But thats why I had that pen.
And thats why I had,
I had it all inside,
and I was able to put it on,
you know... to sing it.
I was able to sing it
and write it.
It will all decease...
It was the only way to survive.
It was the only way to...
get through
what I was getting through.
(Mary vocalizing)
(over speakers):
If you looked at my life
And see what I see
All you got to do is
If you looked at my life...
Take your time,
one day at a time
Its all on you,
what you gonna do...
(shouts) Stop, stop! Stop.
-And see what I see...
-(music stops)
That shit is scaring the shit
out of me right now.
-(Thompson chuckles)
-That shits just
-fucking scaring the shit
out of me. -Yo, man.
Its like... "Take your time,
one day at a time.
-Its all on you.
What you gonna do?" -Yeah. Mm.
My ladies, check me out
(band playing "My Life")
I got something I want
yall to hear, see, you see
It gets so lonely sometimes
But thats my choice
Id rather be by myself
(crowd cheering)
Than to be going through
some more hell
Id rather go through
the fire, yall
Than to live in denial...
Thats me thinking those lyrics
before I check out,
because I-- you know,
those were those times
when I felt like that.
Im talking bout
getting it together
Yeah, oh...
I was writing
just to-to-to get free
so I can move around
and I wasnt in so much bondage
and I wasnt in--
and I wont be stuck.
And I was literally writing
for my life.
Let it burn, let it burn
-Let it burn, let it burn
-(crowd cheering)
Let it burn,
let it burn, let it burn
Let it burn, let it burn...
No matter how bad it hurts
dealing with the truth,
whatever the truth is,
thats how you get to the core.
You got to feel it to heal.
-If you looked at my life
And see what I see
I... I had to let it burn,
Let it burn, yall,
let it burn
Burn, burn, burn, burn, burn,
burn, burn, burn, burn
My life is
just like your life
All the time
If you looked at my life
and see what I see
See, I had to let it burn
I had to let it burn
Sometimes you got
to let it burn
Sometimes you got to let it
-I had to let it burn
-(music ends)
All the way down
to the ground
And start over new.
(crowd cheering)

I just wanted you to know that,
in case you ever thought
that what you was doing
is not saving somebody...
-Wow. -...that you need to know
that you saved my life.
-I tried to jump and I couldnt,
cause I heard your voice that
you cant hold a good woman down
and I thank you.
-And I love you.
-Come on.
(camera clicks)
-Thank you so much.
-Stay strong.
-I am, and Im gonna follow...
-And you look beautiful.
Thank you so much.
-Youre welcome.
-God bless you.
HYLTON: Mary went
to those deep dark places
that we-- a lot of times,
we dont want to admit
that we feel this way, and
we dont want to even go there.
Its just too scary,
uh, to be, uh,
that raw and to
let the world know, like,
"Im hurting. Im confused.
"I dont know what to do.
Im so sad.
I feel lonely."
-I think growing up in general
is just rough. -MAN: Mm.
Its really rough,
and just trying to, like,
find out who you are
and then having people
tell you who you are
at the same time
-is just really frustrating.
-WOMAN: Mm-hmm.
So, um...
My Life was kind of just like,
yo, like, somebody, like,
somebody out there is
feeling that exact same way.
Because, like, whenever youre
going through something, like,
you-you feel alone,
you feel like no one gets it,
you feel like no one
in the world can ever
go through that experience,
and then its like Mary-Mary,
shes right here.
Shes telling me, like,
"Hey, youre not by yourself.
You can get through this."
So, My Life, like, for me,
just felt like
it was just an anthem
to be strong and to just keep
pushing through, like, whatever
it is that youre going through.
(others murmur quietly)
WOMAN: You know,
I was always one of these people
that could not tell the truth,
especially if it was painful
or I had to put on this faade
that I was this strong woman,
and inside I was
just, like, breaking up,
like this big hole
was inside of me.
And I was like, "Damn, when-when
is this ever going to change?"
And that part when she said,
"You dont have to fake it,"
I was like, "Oh, you dont?"
Like, you really
could be authentic.
-I love her so much.
-WOMAN: Me, too.
When I was, like, 13, 14,
those songs like "My Life,"
you know, held me together.
-WOMAN: Yes.
I was going through a lot,
you know.
Like, why would a kid
be going through a lot?
Well, I was going through
a lot of--
I went through a lot of trauma
growing up, a lot of abuse.
The-the song "My Life"
in particular made...
for the first time in my life,
made me feel like
I could relate to somebody.
I also want to share that,
at one point in my life--
I think I was, like, 16--
I was about to commit suicide.
It was... I was being picked on
for being, you know, a big guy,
for being myself, and, you know,
being gay or whatnot,
and it was just all too much.
it was that song, "My Life,"
that helped me
to not actually
go through with that.
-MAN: Thats awesome.
-Yeah. -WOMAN: Beautiful.
MARY: I want the fans
to understand how important
they are to me,
cause I didnt think
I would even make it
to see this day
during that time.
I didnt think I was gonna live.

But something happened one day
when it was just too much.
I was sitting in my living room.
I had been up all night long.
And... it looked like
the window opening.
All these clouds came in.
I was just high out of my mind.
And my heart started racing,
and it was a Sunday morning.
I always feel strange
on a Sunday morning.
I always feel like God can see,
really see what Im doing.
And I was like,
"I dont want to do this.
I-I got to stop doing this."
Either you choose life
or you choose death,
and I chose life,
and it wasnt even so much me
that was important to me,
it was my fans.
They bought the album.
They listened
to what I had to say.
They said, "Me, too, Mary,"
and that was it.
That was the beginning
of our relationship,
and I think
thats what-what I needed.
I needed someone to understand.
Cause it seemed like
no one ever did.
They help me to sustain
and want to live
and survive on my journey.
We did something really great
and really powerful,
uh, inspiring each other,
by inspiring...
each other to want to live
to see another day.
So I just want people to just...
know that they-theyre not--
when you think youre alone,
youre not alone.
We-we soldiers out here,
all of us.
We got a job to fight, and
we all in the fight together.
-(band playing "You Gotta
Believe") -Come on, yall.
-Never hurt you
-(crowd cheering)
I told you once before
That I love you
and I need you
But let me tell you
once again
You were my closest friend
Ill never leave you
So hold me tight
all through the night
Caress me
with your tender care
Anytime or anywhere...
Her gift and her singing
and the way she sings
and where it comes from,
her gut was born out of trauma.
-In me, baby
Stay with...
Its like having a balloon
where youre filling it
with trauma and pain and just so
much, so much, so much, so much.
You got to let it out.
And you can put
a pin in it and...
and blow up the whole world--
which-which Mary will do
if you really piss her off.
She will burn up the damn house
with her "in it to get you"
if you go at her,
and I, and I know that.
But-but to have that moment
where you take the edge of the
balloon and you let the air out
a little bit at a time
so you dont destroy everything,
its almost primal.
Its almost
the little girl crying out.
But its such a beautiful thing
because theres
so much healing in it.
Please, baby, take my hand
I dont need another man
But if you wanna
hold on tight
You cannot be afraid
-You gotta believe...
-(song fades)
(woman speaking indistinctly
over TV)
(chuckles) Who is that?
-Thats my baby.
-Cute little Mary.
Look at my little girl.
Oh, my God.
WOMAN: ...just the title track,
"My Life," I thought that was...
I know. The pictures all fat,
and I look like Skeletor.
-No, you dont.
Youre so cute.
WOMAN: ...just about
what you were going through.
You look like
youre giving her that eye.
WOMAN: ...but again,
running to your emotion.
Well, I wrote it
when I was in...
I was living--
I first moved to Jersey.
Uh, thats when I started
the second album in summer.
And I wrote it
through just watching...
...even as I was little,
watching people, couples
or whatever go through...
Looking at my face, I probably
didnt like the interviewer.
-Mm-hmm. -And, um, I didnt want
to give her everything.
I didnt want to tell her
what I was really dealing with,
because it was
none of her fucking business.
-And I was really,
really mean then. -(laughs)
So if it was some energy
that I picked up that was wrong,
I was, I-I... I withheld.
I didnt want her to know where
all the shit really came from.
It was, "Its none of
your fucking business."
-You understand?
-WOMAN: Wait, is it-- like what?
-Going through what, though?
You know what Im saying?
Whatever it may be.
MARY: Thats my child and
thats who I protect, you know?
That-that girl right there
and little five-year-old Mary
I protect today.
-You know what Im saying?
-WOMAN: I do.
Never mind.
You dont understand.
Yeah, you told her the deal.
But deal with it and not pry.
-Just leading now a little
too deep. -LISATH: Wow.
Ive always had a thing
where my intuition was strong,
and it would make me
go into a pr-protection mode.
And thats what Im doing there,
because I didnt know I was me.
-Damn, that shit make me
want to cry. -Mm.
I didnt know I was me.
I didnt know I was
this Mary J. Blige
that was gonna have
this much courage,
that was gonna do
all these things.
I didnt know I was me,
so I guess that happens
when you grow up
in an environment
where little girls are not safe.
Little girls are not safe
and you...
-Yeah, its just instincts,
yeah. -Yeah.
And thats why my gut is God.

I didnt know I was me.
But I was me. Thats why
I was able to do what I did.
I was always this person.
Just didnt know it.
Its about you sitting
and knowing that,
in your gut, theres God.
God is love.
God is you making decisions
on what-what do you want to do,
what you want to be.
You know, I--
even if Im afraid,
I got to keep moving afraid,
as long as I get out there.
And once you, you know,
pass the fear threshold,
its over, game over, you know?
You can do anything.
(band playing
"Mary Jane (All Night Long)")
(crowd cheering)
Happy 25th anniversary
to the My Life album!
Here we go.
Ooh, baby
Not tonight
I dont wanna fuss and fight
I just wanna make it right
Ooh, theres work to do
I wanna get
real close to you
-I wanna get you in the
All the things
you want to do
Just relax and
Ill take care of you.
(song fades)
I didnt discover My Life
until I was about 16, 17,
going through some of
the hardest times of my life.
I would digest the lyrics
and listen to it.
-Im like, "My aunt wrote that."
-(others murmuring)
And I felt like, you know,
even though you wrote it
for the masses,
you wrote it for yourself,
I felt like, every time
I listened to it, its for me.
Yeah, but Little Xe, I didnt
write it for the masses.
I write it-- I wrote it
because I needed to write it.
-Right. -I-- That whole album
was a cry for help.
-Auntie needed help.
So everything you feel is what
I was really, really feeling.
-XENOS SR.: Right. -You know,
I really wanted to be happy.
Everything I wanted to be, I was
like, "I want to be happy."
-LaTONYA: Mm-hmm.
-Or, "I want this man
-to like me a whole lot."
So I didnt realize I wanted me
to like me a whole lot.
-Yeah. -Right.
What I realize
at this stage in my life,
its not for me
to go through these things
and come out bitter.
Its to come out better
and forgiveness.
So the choices of now
is life can be only
what you make it, for real.

Theres something about sadness
that makes you happy
when youve overcome,
and something about
the sadness in that album,
its very triumphant now.
Nice to meet you.
Thank you so much.
-Lets make it happen.
-MARY: Oh, yeah.
(crowd singing, Mary joins in)
HENSON: To have the world
tell you you aint shit,
and then to rise up out of that
and-and prove that I matter,
that my story means something,
that my story is impactful.
And, no, I didnt go to Harvard.
But I still have a story to tell
thats gonna change
someones life.
-Oh, boy
-("You Bring Me Joy" playing)
Youve got it going on
And you satisfy me,
yes, you do
You satisfy me
-So much joy
In my world
Ooh, la, la, la, la, la, la
-Be my man
-Mm, be my man
And Ill be your girl
-(vocalizing, song fades)
-CROWD: I dont know
what I would do -(chuckles)
-Do without you
-(whooping, excited chatter)
-In my life, boy.
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah!
(cheering, applause)
But its funny cause,
like, that song, like,
theres a lot of darkness,
right, and pain in the album,
but that-that feels
more, like, upbeat,
just, like, positive and fresh.
-Like, like, did yall, like...
-I mean, its positive,
but the first line is:
"You know if the time is right,
-I dont wanna fuss and fight."
-And then... -A lot of fussing
and fighting on the album, Mary.
And then "All Night Long" is
like: "Ooh, baby, not tonight,
-I dont wanna fuss," so...
I was trying to be positive
in-in... in dark situations.
-I was trying to,
you know, have some fun
somewhere, an-anywhere I could.
Yeah. Like, one of
the most uplifting records
is the first single, "Be Happy,"
where youre literally asserting
that, "This is
where I need to be.
-Like, I dont deserve this.
I deserve to have that." -Yeah.
One of the most powerful lyrics:
"How can I love somebody else
if I cant love myself
-enough to know when its time?"
-Yeah. -Yeah.
Thats how I felt.
Thats how I still--
t-today, you know?
-WILSON: Yeah.
Thats where we are now.
Like, the journey is to,
every day,
-to want to try to be happy.
Uh, thats-thats all we,
all we can try to do.
-WILSON: Yeah.
You got a lot of shit
on your mind
and no way to let it out.
Some people do it with guns.
Some people do it
with drugs.
Some people never have an outlet
to-to express themself
and they die young
or they die early.
Anxiety, all kind of shit.
But then when you do
have that outlet,
then you can always
express yourself freely,
and then you got
a bunch of people around you
that was like, "Oh, shit,
I think the same fucking way.
Let me hear
some more of that shit."
(band playing "Be Happy")
(crowd cheering)
how many of yall really want
to be happy tonight?
(crowd cheering)
If you really want to be happy,
I want to hear you
sing this song so loud.
And thats all Im trying to do.
How can I love somebody else
If I cant love myself
enough to know
When its time
Time to let go?
Uh-huh. Sing
-All I really want
-Is to be happy
-Oh, yeah...
KEYS: Self-love is simply
acknowledging your own voice,
your own instinct,
and actually thinking about
whats good for you,
as opposed to just doing
what everybody else
is telling you is good for you.
So its simple to love yourself.
Cant love anybody else
before you love yourself.
Hardest thing in practice.
Why must it be this way?
Why do you have to play
with my mind
All the time?
Help me sing it...
Mary is still
on that journey with us.
Shes-shes gonna be here,
and shes on that--
this-this journey to
put her life out there
for us to see.
CROWD: All I really want
is for me to be happy.
(song ends)
(crowd cheering)
My Life truly was a blessing,
and I would say the empowerment
that it gave us
from telling the truth
changed our lives.
MARY: And if youre here tonight
and youre a Mary J. Blige fan,
you have been tested,
you have been tried,
and you have been proven.
And trust me, theres a lot--
you know--
theres a lot more testing to go
and a lot more trying
and all that stuff.
But right now, I need to speak
to all those die-hard,
(crowd cheering)
...whether I was
doing good, bad--
I need to talk to those fans
that did not leave me!
I need yall right now!
(crowd cheering)
Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you!
(band playing upbeat music)
-(music ends)
-(cheering continues)

(lively chatter)
-You are so cute.
-WOMAN: Damn, baby, damn.
-I love it.
-I try.
-MAN: Yes!
You look so beautiful.
(chuckles) Yes!
Bless you, Father God.
Bless your holy
and righteous name.
-MAN: Thank you, Jesus.
-(others murmuring)
MARY: Father, thank you so much
for your presence right now.
We thank you
for a phenomenal night.
We in agreement.
-ALL: Amen.

WOMAN: Every day,
were growing into new people,
and Mary brings that
to her fans.
Yes, today was a bad day,
but guess what,
tomorrows a new day
and you can start over.
MARY: Its a lot of stuff
to come through still,
a lot of stuff that I...
have not come through,
but Im coming through.
And my fans, theyre
coming through stuff, too,
and thats what we--
were healing each other.
Were back and forth,
sending energy back and forth
thats helping
each other to grow,
and thats what weve been
doing for years.
-We love you!
I love you, Mary,
all my heart and soul,
since the day I was like six
and I could walk and talk, okay?
-Come on...
-Lets go, lets go.

BOY: Have you always
wanted to be a singer,
or was there other, um, things
that you wanted to do?
-No. -Before you went inside
this booth and made this song.
-I mean, I always knew
that I-I-I could sing
and I wanted to sing,
but I really...
singing wasnt, like, the
only thing that was on my mind,
because I didnt think that,
you know,
stuff like that could happen
to somebody like me.
-You know what Im saying?
Like us. -Yeah, yeah.
So you feel that, since you did
a lot of work on this album,
you feel better for yourself
-that you did something...
...for our-- for yourself,
you know, this came from you?
I feel real good about it,
cause it was a challenge
to do something like that,
cause I never had
the confidence to bring it
to, you know, anybody and say,
"Do you like it?"
And when I finally, you know,
got up the confidence,
you know, I brought it to
a couple people, they liked it,
and it made me happy, so I just
kept writing and kept doing it.
Were you aware of that, Andre,
as-as she was growing?
Yeah. I watched,
I watched Mary, um, grow.
Like, when she was
writing the songs
and I was listening
to the songs,
I was feeling like Mary is
becoming a full-fledged artist.
I mean, you know,
it all comes from her.
Mary J. Blige all comes from
her feeling.
And I think that gives her
the confidence to know, like,
I know she believes
"Im Miss Mary J. Blige."
-And thats all right
with yall, huh? -(laughter)
(crowd cheering)
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Mary
Happy birthday to you.
Um... (clears throat)
Two cakes for the queen.
-Who is the other cake for?
-WOMAN: Yes, queen!
For you, so you can have
a choice. You deserve choices.
-Vanilla or chocolate, baby.
-Options, baby, you got options.
from the moment I met you--
you were 18 years old--
I heard your voice,
I looked in your heart,
and I saw that you were truly
gifted but you were troubled.
But the amazing thing
about you as a person
is how you are able to put
your troubles on the canvas
and deal with them in front of
people and get over them.
And by you getting over them,
it inspires us,
-so heres to you, Mary.
-WOMAN: Mm-hmm.
-You truly are a queen.
-(others murmuring)
-Hear! Hear!
-Thank you so much!
-(glasses clinking)
(lively chatter, laughter)
I just want to say thank yall
for hanging in there with me
and believing that I can make it
to another year,
another birthday,
because I didnt think
I was gonna make it.
Life is looking up, but in the
midst of the beautiful things
that God was doing and is doing,
theres still trial.
But I choose life
and I choose the good,
and Im gonna continue
to work on Mary, whether it be
spiritual, mental, physical,
First thing, my baby is my Mary,
my little Mary and my big Mary,
my confused Mary,
my every kind of Mary.
So, it took us a while
to get here, and when we all--
were almost 50,
and we gonna really act up.
-This is only the beginning.
Yall aint seen nothing yet.
So thank yall.
Like, Im grateful and Im not
gonna let nobody take away
-my strength...
-Thats right.
...or my joy ever again.

Being human is hard,
but I think Ive evolved
in a, in a major way.
But whats consistent
is my heart,
and my heart is
that little girl in Yonkers.
My heart is that teenager
trying to get through
and making it through.
My heart is never forgetting
the environment
that I grew up in
and going back
and helping others.
So the evolution is not being
afraid to expose my truth
and myself to touch
someone elses life.
(cheering, clapping)
-You make a wish?
I dont think you really
made a wish, though.
-Yo, make a wish. -How you know
I didnt make a wish?
You got two-- make two wishes.
Cause I can feel you.
Okay, I dont like to wish,
-so Im-a go and believe...
-Say a prayer.
-Say a prayer.
...that what I desire
in my heart will be.
-Amen. Amen.
(group cheering, clapping)
("Hour Glass" by Mary J. Blige
If you could see a seconds
in an hourglass
If you could see the minutes
of the life you have
Would you run
and would you try
To win it back?
If you can see your future
in a photograph
If you could see the life
that you wish you had
Could you be strong
and carry on
With what you have?
Why we wasting life?
Should be chasing life
If were breathing
for the very last time
I dont wanna hold on
to goodbye
If theres no tomorrow
We better make it
last tonight
If were standing
when the walls come down
If we make it
to the final round
If were here tomorrow
We live it better than
we did last night
If you were on your knees,
would you take a stand?
If you were in need,
would you take my hand?
Would you lie
and lose your pride
To live again?
If you could wake up
and see through yourself
Would you find the room
to blame someone else?
Could you change
in just a day
And cry for help?
Why we wasting life?
Should be chasing life
If were breathing
for the very last time
I dont wanna hold on
to goodbye
If theres no tomorrow
We better make it
last tonight
If were standing
when the walls come down
If we make it
to the final round
If were here tomorrow
We live it better than
we did last night
Cause youre not alone,
no, youre not alone
Weve all been wasting time
No, its not too late
For us to make it right
We still have today
If were breathing
for the very last time
I dont wanna hold on
to goodbye
If theres no tomorrow
We better make it
last tonight
If were standing
when the walls come down
If we make it
to the final round
If were here tomorrow
We live it better than
we did last night.
(song fades)