Known for her soul-stirring lyrics and vocals that communicate the feelings and thoughts of a generation, Mary J. Blige gives fans a front-row seat in the revealing documentary film “Mary J. Blige’s My Life.” Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth follows Mary J. Blige as she celebrates the 25th anniversary of the iconic 1994 “My Life” LP. Just as raw and honest as her lyrics, Mary J. Blige shares details from her journey as a teen living in the projects to fame that shot her to superstardom.
“Mary J. Blige’s My Life” features commentary from those who had the most significant impact on her career and from those who were touched and influenced by her music. Sean “Diddy” Combs, the late legendary music executive Andre Harrell, actress Taraji P. Henson, Method Man, Nas, and more paint a picture of a woman determined to not only survive but also thrive. Mary J. Blige reflects on her journey with tears, laughter, and some of the painful moments she experienced throughout her life and career.
“For a long time, I didn’t know I was successful because I was a wreck inside.” — Mary J. Blige.
Mary J. Blige began to write music for her second album in the midst of struggling with heartbreak, substance abuse, and self-doubt. She says it changed the direction of her career and ultimately saved her life. Mary J. Blige captured the hearts of many black women who saw themselves reflected in her with the 1994 LP, “My Life.” The gut-wrenching emotion in that album told the stories of heartbreak, sadness, depression, and a desire to break free from it all connected with women worldwide. It made Mary J. Blige a superstar and household name. In the documentary, Mary takes us through the highs and lows that helped her create such an iconic album, sharing her creative process and inspirations along the way.
The “My Life” album became a commercial and critical success. My Life topped Billboard’s Top R & R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for an unprecedented eight weeks and was named Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and Time magazine’s “All-Time 100 Albums. The documentary follows Mary J. Blige on the 2019 Royalty Tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of the album “My Life” and was the first time she performed the entire album live. Mary J. Blige says she made the album for the fans. “My fans helped me sustain … We inspired each other to want to live to see another day. We’re soldiers out here and we’re in the fight together.”
Intimate moments shared between her family, close friends, and creative partners reveal a Mary J. Blige that has weathered the storms of life. Executive producer and longtime collaborator Sean “Diddy” Combs says Mary J. Blige’s My Life is more than a concert film. “It’s the story of the first half of Mary’s life and where she is right now. We see how she has pulled herself out of the fire and gone through trials and tribulations only to come out on the other side and manifest into a legendary queen who is fearless, secure, and strong.”
“Mary J. Blige’s My Life,” tells the story of a woman on a journey to loving herself and finding her strength. Fans have had a front-row seat to her journey for over 25 years, in many ways, growing up together. Mary J. Blige says that is her mission. “In the neighborhood I lived in; it was like you better not dream it. You better not hope it. So it has been my mission to actually help women believe in themselves.” — Mary J. Blige.
Mary J. Blige’s My Life documentary premiers on Amazon Prime Video, Friday, June 25th.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSanders20.