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Mary J. Blige: Better Than Fine Part 2

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AHHA: Regarding motherhood? Do you plan to have children in the future? Mary J Blige: Right now, there are no plans as the house is full.AHHA: What is it like being a stepmom? How do you get on with your stepchildren? Mary J Blige: I love it! I love them so much. They are the most honest people. I find them a real influence in my life. AHHA: How about married life?Mary J Blige: Marriage is a challenge. I have never been married before. You have no idea how marriage has changed me. I have never been with a man who says he loves me as much as [Kendu] does. I didn’t believe in anything like that, I’m challenged to believe in him and trust him and it’s hard, but I’m doing it. Growing Pains is about trying to trust a man when you’ve never trusted one before. AHHA: What is it like to work with, and be married to your husband at the same time? Mary J Blige: It’s so hard sometimes. It takes so much patience and you have to know how to separate the job from the marriage, because he’s used to being married to you, so when you ask him a question he’s like, “Yeah, yeah I’ll get back to you” and I’m like, “I’m your client right now, so I need some answers!” So yeah it’s tough. AHHA: I have always loved your collaboration track with Jay-Z “Can’t Knock The Hustle.” Will we see you work together again [outside of the tour]?Mary J Blige: Wow I believe you will. [laughs] Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers. That’s one of the few artists we have left in Hip-Hop right now, I mean real Hip-Hop. He’s like the last of the Mohicans. [laughs] Him and Nas, if Nas would rap some more that is. AHHA: So this is your 8th studio album, what do you want your legacy to stand for when you finish recording? Mary J Blige: I want them to know that I was with them, in a struggle. That I was there, I was truthful and honest; I was more than a conqueror. When people doubted me and said I couldn’t, I pushed through with the faith, and my faith and love for the Lord and said “I Can.” When people laughed at me and said, “Oh there goes that God girl again,” I said whatever – God is real in my life. So I was in it with them. I was truly a leader for them and with them.AHHA: Does making music still satisfy you?Mary J Blige: The music is the first love. It’s so innocent. It’s the business that can wear and tear on you. If it wasn’t for my fans and the love that I have for music, then I would have quit by now for sure. The business is horrible… So horrible…AHHA: Do you see a lot more albums in your future?Mary J Blige: As long as my fans are willing to grow with me, I will continue to make music. There will be a time that I will be like, “Ok I am just going to chill out now” and every five years just make whatever kind of record I make. I don’t know if there will be time where I will say I am done with music completely. AHHA: So if you had to give up your title of “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” do you think any other artists deserve to hold the title after you?Mary J Blige: You know what I honestly think? Anything to do with being a queen and a leader comes with responsibility. There’s a lot of people that qualify talent wise, but as far as strength to get through this stuff, none of them qualify. What are they doing? They may be talented, they may be pretty, but they have to also have heart to be given the title of a Queen. This s**t comes with responsibility. You can’t just lead people; you have to love people as much as they love you. I love my fans. I mean I have sacrificed so much for my fans. I started to speak to them and I have never stopped. It feels really good that my life has saved someone else’s life – that my whole ministry has touched some girl out there.I want to share this story with you. This is not the “no more drama he’s a dog” story. [laughs] This is a new story. I was in Atlanta promoting my album and this woman phoned in, and she said, “Mary I have thirteen kids and this song ‘Just Fine’ is making me feel so much better about myself. After having thirteen kids, you can really feel low and depressed, but this song is really making me feel more positive.” You take a song like “Just Fine’” lightly, but it is still touching people’s lives because it’s coming from a hopeful place. That means everything to me.AHHA: What do you make of the comparisons to people like Keyshia Cole?Mary J Blige: The only reason why people probably compare us is because we both have a story. That’s about it. As far as her looking like me and wearing her hair like mine and any time I do something and she does it, as far as I’m concerned that’s about imaging, as far as who she is on the inside, I can’t see myself in her…AHHA: What other goals do you have?Mary J Blige: I do definitely want to do some acting. Definitely want to do that. That’s something I feel like I will be able to do. There’s a lot of stuff in me. Stuff that I have lived and experienced that I would like to target on film. To show people Nina Simone through Mary J Blige or to show people Billie Holiday’s life. I have experienced so much and have places within me where I can draw from to make certain stories and emotions come to life. AHHA: Any regrets in life?Mary J Blige: You really can’t blame anyone if you don’t know any better. I can’t really blame the music business for robbing me because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t have an education. I didn’t finish high school. I dropped out of the 11th grade. I wish I went to college. I wish I had an education so that would probably be the only thing that I really do regret in my entire life. Everything else I went through really was horrible, but honestly I am so glad that I went through it. It hurt but it’s made me who I am today. AHHA: Would you ever go back to get an education?Mary J Blige: I mean yeah, if I had the time. School is like a job though, and It seems like things are a lot harder now and I’m older now so a lot of stuff in school looks strange to me. I would love to though. You got to be prepared in life and education provides that. Record labels shouldn’t just throw artists in the deep end. They should have artist development, make them finish high school and go to college first before they sign on that dotted line. It should be that fair. AHHA: In the past you had a battle loving/accepting yourself. Have you found your inner confidence?Mary J Blige: I am in a place where I have more days where I can say, “You’re alright. You’re not Halle Berry, but you’re alright”AHHA: Come on Mary…Mary J Blige: I’m not though. Let’s really be real. I’m always very honest with myself. I know I am a very different looking chick. I have to accept what I have and just be cool with that.AHHA: Mary you are beautiful.  Mary J Blige: [laughs] Thank you. AHHA: So tell me right now musically, personally and physically, can you tell me you are happy?Mary J Blige: Well [pauses] Yeah…I am going to say yes I am happy because I understand that there will be hard times, so that is what allows me to be happy; the acceptance of the pain. That is why I called the album Growing Pains because I can accept the fact that in those hard times, I am going to grow and get better. Check Out Part One

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