One word describes Mary J. Blige’s life right now: Amazing!
The energetic and braggadocious DJ Khaled-assisted track of the same name from her 15th studio album Good Morning Gorgeous released on Feb. 11 features an equally vibrant visual (below) in which an utterly stunning Blige sings, “Every day like my birthday, bring the cake in.” Surrounded by real-life family like her older sister and bestie, LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, and close friends Angie Martinez and Misa Hylton, Blige toasts to herself with her own Sun Goddess wine and luxuriates in the opulence acquired from her impressive 30-year reign as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, “I feel good, I feel great, man, I feel amazing,” she belts.
As the sole female act 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 the Super Bowl LVI halftime show on Feb. 13.
Surely not a coincidence, the veteran singer dropped Good Morning Gorgeous on Feb. 11, just two days before ripping the stage at SoFi Stadium. The strategy worked perfectly because the self-love title track jumped from No. 8 on the Billboard Adult R&B Airplay chart back in December to No. 1 following the halftime show. The album debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts becoming the songstress’ 19th Top 10 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album, finally breaking her second-place tie with Mariah Carey in the category for solo female artists, surpassed only by the late Aretha Franklin who holds 33 albums on the chart.
The New York native’s other music including “Family Affair,” “No More Drama,” and even her classic 1992 bop “Real Love” all experienced dramatic spikes in streams and sales after the Super Bowl. Since then, she’s been on a hot streak, continuing to set stages ablaze across the country as she did during NBA All-Star Weekend and the NAACP Image Awards where she also won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Monét Tejada in Power Book II: Ghost for the second year in a row. Blige is also slated to headline several upcoming music festivals and is even executive producing a Lifetime movie titled, Real Love.
With all of these personal and professional accomplishments, which are just the most recent in Blige’s long and decorated career, it’s seems safe to say, the 51-year-old is doing “Just Fine.”
Still, when the My Life singer made a virtual appearance on E! News’ Daily Pop to share details about her latest album and the Superbowl performance, host Justin Sylvester, a self-proclaimed MJB fan, was more interested in Blige’s thoughts on motherhood. He contrasted Mary as a mom with who he described as, “the cool aunty…that comes with the bags for Christmas,” the Mary he aspires to be in the future because he “ain’t havin’ no kids.”
“Do you ever think you’re gonna get to the day where you’re like, ‘Damn, I maybe shoulda done it?'” Sylvester asked to open the chat.
“Oh, I’m not there yet!” the “Your Child” artist quickly replied with a laugh. “I’m not there yet, so I’m good. Listen, I have nieces and nephews forever. And I’m always watching how people are scrambling, you know, scrambling around for babysitters. I don’t wanna go through that.” she added with another chuckle while grabbing her glass.
I like my freedom. I like being able to get up and go and move and do what I wanna do. I don’t want to have to tend to someone all the time, you know?”
“Right now, that’s where I’m at, you know, but,” added Blige shaking her head left and right, concluding, “I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”
Surely, Slyvester chose to start the interview with that line of questioning in an effort to relate himself, a gay Black man, to Blige in an intimate and entertaining way. She was previously a stepmom to her ex-husband Kendu Issac’s three children and seems quite comfortable and content with her decision not to have any kids of her own, which is probably why she was so willing to publically discuss such a personal topic.
However, the question and similar inquires and conversations are extremely loaded, invasive, presumptuous, and often very hurtful no matter who’s the one prodding. Actress Jennifer Aniston opened up about this 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 clue what’s going with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?’ They don’t know anything, and it was really hurtful and just nasty.”
Whether or not a woman becomes a mother—by traditional means, use of a surrogate, or adoption—is a unique journey that depends on many variables and may change throughout one’s lifetime. For instance, actress Eva Mendes admitted, “I never wanted babies before 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 specific to him.”
A few years ago, Oprah said that she considered motherhood after she and longtime partner Stedman Graham got engaged. But she eventually realized, “I don’t have the ability to compartmentalize the way I see other women do.” The 68-year-old billionaire went on to share she has no regrets and explained that the female students at her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa “fill that maternal fold.”
Rather than commenting on and concerning ourselves with females’ reproductive abilities, speculating about women’s plans for motherhood, or metaphorically and literally poking at women’s wombs—Seriously! Stop doing that! Let’s instead celebrate our queens for all they’ve achieved or overcome and not what we think they might be missing in life because everyone measures success and joy in their own way. Babies or no babies, our girl Mary is finally en route to “Be Happy.”