Mary J. Blige, My Favorite Play Auntie
By Jaylin Paschal
There's something familiar about Mary J. Blige. Like you've known her forever. The first time you hear her, it feels like you recognize the voice.
What's the 411? is one of my favorite albums. Timeless tracks aside, it makes me feel comfortable. Mary was able to merge Hip Hop and RnB in a way that felt seamless, and created a sound that could be played on a constant loop in the background of our everyday lives. Her music is easy to like. Easy to sing along to. Easy to understand. And honestly, the same can be said for her.
Mary, to me, is like a play-auntie. She just feels like she belongs in the kitchen, yelling at an army of cousins or taste-testing whatever your grandma has on the stove. It’s easy to imagine her laying down someone’s edges with a soft bristled brush, or sweeping cigarette buds off the carport.
She's real. She's had public humiliations, survived an abusive relationship, faced depression and battled with substance abuse. And, like many of our aunts, she's managed to push forward and maintain our respect and appreciation.
Anyway, it's no wonder that despite her awkward dancing, cringe-inducing serenades of presidential hopefuls, frequent dramatic fallouts with Diddy and sometimes questionable outfit decisions, we defend her like she belongs to us. Like family members, we can tease her, but no one else should even try.