I remember the first time I saw Mary J Blige. There she was on my TV set singing her hit song “Real Love” and me thinking “Damn I gonna marry her someday!” Now for anyone that knows me, know that I am a HUGE Mary J Blige fan. I had the opportunity to meet and profess my undying love for her during her “Share My World” album signing tour at HMV in downtown Toronto. I cut school early (sorry Mom) and like a hormonal teenage boy I had it all planned out how I was going to pop the question. I thought I was dressed fresh to death to meet my Queen, wearing a Karl Kani black v-neck T-shirt, black Levis, all white Nikes and my brother’s black New York Yankee’s hat turned to the back. I waited in line for 4 hours and finally my opportunity came. There I was standing in front of her and for some reason I couldn’t get a single word out of my mouth. My heart was racing, my hands were all clammy and I’m sure I had that deer caught in the headlights look! After being escorted off by my friends because my feet were firmly planted on the ground to a point where I couldn’t move, I was like “DAMMIT! Now she will never know how I feel!” My friends all looked at me and started laughing and said “Like you had a chance!”
Mary J Blige always has this swagger about her in the way she walks, talks, sing and definitely dress. She started out during the 90’s where dressing like a boy was very cool for females. She would thug it out in a full workman’s jumpsuit, a pair of Timberlands and baseball cap turned to the back with blonde Shirley Temple curls. As the years went by and her career sky rocketed, the Queen of Hip Hop and Soul’s style became more high fashion however always incorporating a street edge. Everything Mary wore all young female imitated. From her blonde hair styles, signature sun glasses and edgy wardrobe. There are two sides to MJB’s style, one is represented by her alter-ego Brook-Lynn whose style is hard, edgy and street savvy the other is Mary who is more refined, feminine and high fashion. Both personalities have one thing in common, her swagger.
Last week Mary and fashion designer/ close friend Catherine Malandrino raised money to send 30 under privileged young women to college for her charity FFAWN. Last year the two created a line of T-shirts priced at $300; studded leather jackets $3000 which reflected Mary’s musical influences. Bloomingdales immediately sold out as soon as the clothing was placed on the racks. This new charity line showcased 25 new looks, a collection of evening wear, leather jackets and T-shirts. It was reported that the inspiration for this line was taken from the distinct styles of other music icons i.e. Tina Turner, Al Green and Grace Jones. This is not the first time Mary has joined forces with the fashion world to raise money for her charity. Last year she collaborated with Gucci to create a watch and now she has a line of sunglasses called Melodies. All hail the Queen! Trendsetter, Style Icon, Musician, Business woman and Humanitarian her swagger is often imitated but never duplicated.
“You Don’t Have To Worry” Video:Highlights Mary’s tomboyish style when she first started her career.
“Enough Cryin'” video: This video is very glamed up and high fashion representing both Mary and alter-ego Brook-Lynn’s styles.
“Your Child”: I call this Mary’s Sex and the City video. Her style is very 70’s inspired with knee length leather skirt, satin tops, neck ties and blonde Farrah Fawcett hairstyle.
Written by: Curt Greenidge