Mary J. Blige was the primary honoree at the VIBE Awards, which were televised on Tuesday, but the singer had sharp words for the magazine and Editor-in-Chief Mimi Valdés.
The tirade wasn’t televised in Tuesday’s event, but Blige’s scorn reverberated through the rumor mill, prompting the magazine chief to respond.
On Saturday, when the urban awards show was taped, the Yonkers, New York singer scalded Valdés for the cover photography in current issue of the magazine.
"For so many years, VIBE has given me great, great, great covers, but I must say, I'm very, very disappointed at the cover this time, so Mimi, me and you really need to talk, as women,” Blige said during her acceptance speech. “No disrespect, but I really hated the way you guys shaved off my head, pushed my forehead way back behind my ears. I'm just insulted, so that's no respect on the cover, but I thank you, and I appreciate this award.”
Valdés responded to Blige’s accusations and suggested that the she wasn’t appreciative of the support the publication has displayed through the years, regardless of the singer’s declaration.
“Dissing VIBE while accepting our VLegend Award was extremely disappointing. I'm sorry you find your most recent cover insulting. It was definitely not our intention,” Valdés wrote in an open letter posted on the magazine’s site. “If you look at the big picture, we've been supportive of your career beginning with the first issue of VIBE in the fall of '92. You've graced our cover seven times, more than any other artist.”
Valdés continued, “Besides your desire to make a private conversation public, your accusations are untrue. How your hair looks on that cover is between you and your hairstylist. I swear, your hairline is no different than the Polaroids you saw at the shoot or the snapshots we printed in my What's Good column. In any case, you felt compelled to speak your peace, and at the end of the day, isn't this truly why we all love Mary in the first place?”
Valdés concluded her letter saying that she and other VIBE employees were colossal fans of Blige’s work and impressive career despite the criticism.
“For myself and the rest of the edit staff, working here is more than just a job. We take our roles as journalists very seriously, but we're die-hard fans as well,” she said. “I'd be lying not to admit how hurt we were by the negativity you brought to our celebration, especially since you were being honored.”