Over the weekend, the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul, Mary J. Blige, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at the BET Awards for her illustrious career. During her speech, the living legend thanked fans for allowing her to share her story, through the good, bad and ugly, and explained her resilience throughout it all.
“People always ask, how do I sustain and stay relevant in this industry,” Blige said. “It’s because, although I am a leader, a queen, and a living legend…I’m a servant as well and I’m here to serve. Being a servant is not always glamours or popular, but it’s the job and the assignment that I was given.”
Blige spent her longstanding career singing about the pain, drama, and love within her life, and fans watched as her lyrics unfolded through her tumultuous relationship with ex and former manager, Kendu Isaacs. However, now, in the wake of it all, Blige says she’s happy, health and living her best single life.
“If I could tell my younger self something, I would tell her don’t be afraid of your imperfections, because one day people are going to love you for them,” Blige told PEOPLE, adding that her music has even helped her through her own tough times. “It’s therapeutic. To travel back and to relive something again and not have it drive you crazy is a true gift from God.”
“To be able to touch people with what you’ve gone through and pull them through…The sadness makes me happy almost. I can’t even describe it,” she said, as she opened up about pressing on. “I think I turned that corner when I got my divorce. I think I realized that no matter what comes to me, no matter how big or bad it is, I have to keep moving, I have to keep living. I said, ‘No, I’m not going to stay in this marriage. I’m out of here.’ That’s what thriving is about.”