Family affair

Mary J. Blige’s Family Affair Doesn’t Have to Include Having Kids

One word describes Mary J. Blige’s life right now: Amazing!

The energetic and swaggering DJ Khaled assisted the track of the same name from his 15th studio album Hello beauty released on February 11 features an equally vibrant visual (below) in which an utterly stunning Blige sings, “Everyday like my birthday, bring the cake.” Surrounded by real family like her older sister and best friend, LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, and her close friends Angie Martinez and Misa Hylton, Blige toasts herself with her own sun goddess wine and revels in the opulence gained through to his impressive 30-year reign. as the queen of soulful hip-hop, “I feel good, I feel good, man, I feel amazing,” she declares.

As the only female actor and singer alongside rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and surprise guest 50 Cent, Blige stole the show with her incredible performance at Super Bowl LVI halftime on February 13. .

It’s surely no coincidence, the veteran singer dropped Hello beauty on February 11, just two days before tearing up the stage at SoFi Stadium. The strategy worked perfectly as the title track self-love went from No. 8 on the Billboard Adult R&B Airplay charts in December to No. 1 after the halftime show. The album debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, becoming the singer’s 19th Top 10 R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, finally breaking her second place with Mariah Carey in the category of solo female artists, surpassed only by the late Aretha Franklin who has 33 albums on the chart.

Mary J. Blige performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The New York native’s other music, including “Family Affair,” “No More Drama,” and even her classic 1992 bop “Real Love,” all saw dramatic spikes in streams and sales after the Super Bowl. Since then, she’s been on a hot streak, continuing to ignite stages across the country like she did at NBA All-Star Weekend and the NAACP Image Awards where she also won. Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Monet Tejada in Power Book II: Ghost for the second consecutive year. Blige is also set to headline several upcoming music festivals and is even executive producer of a Lifetime movie titled, True love.

With all of these personal and professional accomplishments, which are just the latest in Blige’s long and decorated career, it seems safe to say the 51-year-old is going “Just Fine”.

However, when the My life singer made a virtual appearance on E! News’ pop of the day to share details about her latest album and Superbowl performance, host Justin Sylvester, a self-proclaimed MJB fan, was more interested in Blige’s thoughts on motherhood. He pitted Mary as a mother against the one he described as “the cool aunt…who comes with the bags for Christmas”, the Mary he aspires to be in the future because he “hasn’t no children”.

“Do you ever think you’re going to come to the day where you’re like, ‘Damn, maybe I should have done that? “” asked Sylvester to open the chat.

“Oh, I’m not there yet!” the “Your Child” artist quickly responded with a laugh. “I’m not there yet, so I’m fine. Look, I have nieces and nephews forever. And I always watch how people are scrambling, you know, scrambling to find babysitters. I don’t want to go through that. she added with another chuckle as she grabbed her drink.

I love my freedom. I like being able to get up and move around and do what I want to do. I don’t want to have to take care of someone all the time, you know?

“Right now that’s where I’m at, you know, but,” Blige added, shaking her head left and right, concluding, “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Slyvester surely chose to start the interview with this line of questioning in an effort to relate, a gay black man, to Blige in an intimate and entertaining way. She was previously the stepmother to her ex-husband Kendu Issac’s three children and seems quite comfortable and content with his decision not to have children, which is probably why she was so willing to discuss the matter publicly. such a personal subject.

However, the question and similar inquiries and conversations are extremely charged, intrusive, presumptuous and often very hurtful, no matter who is pushing it. Actress Jennifer Aniston opened up about it in a 2021 interview, candidly sharing, “The pregnancy rumors and the whole ‘Oh, she chose career over kids’ assumption. It’s like, ‘You have no idea what’s going on with me personally, medically, why I can’t…can I have children?’ They don’t know anything, and it was really hurtful and just mean.

Whether a woman becomes a mother or not…through traditional means, use of a surrogate mother or adoption— is a unique journey that depends on many variables and can change throughout life. For example, actress Eva Mendes admitted, “I never wanted a baby until I fell in love with Ryan. [Gosling]“, with whom she now shares two daughters. “Then it made sense for me to have…not kids, but his kids. It was very special for him.”

Mary J. Blige and Oprah Winfrey

Mary J. Blige and Oprah Winfrey attend the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in West Hollywood, CA.
Barry King/Wire Image

A few years ago, Oprah said she considered motherhood after she and longtime partner Stedman Graham got engaged. But she eventually realized, “I don’t have the ability to compartmentalize like I see other women do.” The 68-year-old billionaire then shared that she had no regrets and explained that students at her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa “fill that motherly bosom”.

Rather than commenting on and worrying about women’s reproductive capacities, speculating about women’s maternity plans, or metaphorically and literally prick women’s bellies—Seriously! Stop doing that! Let’s instead celebrate our Queens for all that they have achieved or overcome and not for what we think they might be missing in life, because everyone measures success and joy in their own way. Babies or no babies, our daughter Mary is finally on her way to “Be Happy”.