As Mary J. Blige resumes reign over the Tejada Drug Organization in her role as Monet Tejada in season two of Power Book II: Ghost, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul opened up about what really differentiates her from her fictional character—and it’s all about the hair.
“I didn’t want blond hair, because that’s my s**t,” asserted the Starz actress in a new interview with InStyle magazine.
The nine-time Grammy Award winner has been setting hair trends since the beginning of her nearly 30-year-long career, and there’s no denying that her preferred hue of choice. So, when deciding on Monet’s image, it was Blige who came up with the queen pin’s sleek and symbolic red locks.
“Instead of giving her a bang and covering her face, I want people to see her expressions—like, ‘I’m not hiding, don’t f**k … excuse me, don’t play with me.’ And the red is a sign of fire,” she explained to the outlet.
And while the “Real Love” songstress can easily incorporate her character’s criminal persona into her personal fashion and style—”Sometimes I feel like looking like a drug dealer, sometimes I feel like a classy lady”—Blige confessed that embodying Monet’s gritty edge for the small screen was much more challenging.
Despite an impressive acting resume that includes guest appearances on TV shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Black-ish, and Empire–in addition to leading roles in films like Betty and Coretta alongside Angela Bassett and her Oscar-nominated performance in 2017’s Mudbound, the native New Yorker admitted to InStyle, “I was not always super secure with my acting ability.”
Blige compared acting to performing in concert for a live audience and confessed that the absence of crowd interaction and affirmation forced her to “push past the fear.”
“There’s nobody clapping, nobody screaming, just a cold camera,” she explained. “So I had to keep pushing, pushing, pushing.” But by the close of the first season of Power Book II: Ghost, “I was like, ‘Monet—boom,'” she gushed with a proud grin.
Ever the survivor, nowadays the Strength Of A Woman artist has much to smile about. Following her highly publicized and tumultuous 2018 divorce from ex-husband Kendu Issacs after 12 years of marriage, Blige shared, “I don’t hate myself anymore. I’m stronger now.”
Celebrating her 50th birthday this past January with some jaw-dropping bikini pics posted to her Instagram, Blige told InStyle, “I’m fighting for happiness now. I’m fighting for peace of mind now.” This includes surrounding herself with “beautiful people,” exercise, and drinking lots of water.
But don’t get it twisted. H20 is not the only beverage she likes to sip on. The star also enjoys a glass or two of iced sauvignon blanc from her line of wines, Sun Goddess, which she debuted last summer. In fact, the singer even revealed that she’s a fan of naps! “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved naps,” she shared. “As a grownup, I still love them.”
Indulging in siestas is a stark contrast from the ubiquitous cultural credo, which advocates that “sleep is the cousin of death.” (Yes, we’re looking at you, Nas.) But for the woman who’s sold more than 80 million records worldwide and provided the soundtrack to generations since 1992, it’s fair to say a nap is well warranted, so rest easy queen.
On the heels of the success of her documentary, Mary J. Blige’s My Life, based on her 1994 classic album and released this past June on Amazon, MJB shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to reprising her role in the Starz series, fans can soon catch Blige as Dinah Washington opposite Jennifer Hudson and Marlon Wayans in the Aretha Franklin biopic RESPECT, which hits theatres on Thursday (Aug. 12).
A fan of new and younger artists like H.E.R., Lucky Daye, and Jazmine Sullivan and Ella Mai, both of whom Blige said “moves me,” she’s also making money moves on the other side of the screen. Her production company, Blue Butterfly, just sold a sitcom she co-created with 50 Cent called Family Affair to ABC.
Blue Butterfly seems perfectly appropriate for the artist who always seems in search of happiness and is perpetually evolving. It’s only now that she’s gained the confidence to rock “these little jean shorts that show some of my bum.” But rest assured, for Mary J. Blige, true healing “is a process” and a daily fight.
Watch the trailer for Mary J. Blige’s My Life documentary below streaming now on Amazon Prime: