Mary J. Blige spent her birthday marking another major milestone in her career as she was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan. 11. The dedication followed speeches from record producer Andre Harrell and fellow music icon Sean “Diddy” Combs. Both praised Blige for her talent and strength.
“I’m so grateful for this star right now because I’ve earned it probably three times,” said Blige. “I say that with confidence and not arrogance. I say it because I know that now, and I know my worth, and what this means.”
The Grammy Award-winning artist and recent Golden Globe nominee was greeted by fans singing “Happy Birthday” as she posed for pictures and hugged family members before the ceremony began. “I’m proud of us. Look at where we are,” Blige replied to one fan who applauded the singer.
Blige stood beside Harrell on stage in front of cheering fans as he recalled the first moment he heard her voice. “I remember the expression on Mary’s face when I would say to her ‘Your voice is going to sing with rock legends. Your voice is going to change your life and make you royal,’” Harrell said. He said that since being introduced as the queen of hip-hop and soul music on “Soul Train” Blige has held that title.
Diddy, who collaborated with Blige on her album “My Life,” praised the singer for her ability to heal through her music. “Whatever she is going through, she knows she has a responsibility to help others who are going through the same thing,” Diddy said. “Mary J. Blige has saved a lot of lives. Mary J. Blige has saved a lot of broken hearts.”
Blige thanked Diddy and Harrell for their roles in her career, and she recognized other friends and family in the audience who have helped her. Other attendees included outgoing BET chief executive Debra Lee, “Mudbound” costar Garrett Hedlund, and music producer and Apple executive Jimmy Iovine.
Blige took a special moment to acknowledge “Mudbound” director Dee Rees who also attended. “You really, really saved my life,” Blige said. “‘Mudbound’” opened up doors and gave me strength I didn’t even know I had.”