Mary J. Blige released her first single, You Remind Me in 1991 and audiences immediately fell in love with her voice, lyrics and ghetto fabulous style. Yet, it wasn’t until 25 years later, she saw that same beauty. “I didn’t feel beautiful—like for real for real, not just ‘Hey, I’m pretty’ but actually believing it—until about 2016,” she heartbreakingly revealed in a new Elle cover story.
“If you’ve been beat down mentally by someone, you’re never pretty enough. You’re never smart enough. Nothing’s ever good enough,” she explained.
Mary’s struggle to love herself extended to her natural hair. “It felt like cotton,” she explained “My mother pressed it, and she put all these ponytails in it. It looked nice when she pressed it, but when it was kinky, it just looked nuts.” She added, “Because of the texture, growing up I always wished I had wavy hair. Every little Black girl wanted wavy hair.”
But when she discovered Salt-N-Pepa’s iconic asymmetrical cuts and color, platinum blonde tresses became her signature. “When I saw Salt’s hair was platinum, it was done. Game over,” she said.
Touching on her ghetto fabulous fashions and expanding on the definition, “Ghetto fabulous is just, when you come from the hood, you at your flyest. What can you afford? What can you do with it? You want stones on your nails. You want mad colors on your nails. You want colorful furs. You want Timberland boots to rock with your furs. You want a hockey jersey? It’s whatever you feel you can do with whatever you can afford,” she defined. “Growing up around drug dealers and the women that I hung out with, they wore furs—long sables and silver foxes and red lipstick. They were just fly. Men wore them, but when you saw a woman show up in one, you knew who she was.”
Mary is currently promoting her new single Good Morning Gorgeous and upcoming album while showing off her acting skills as Monet on Power. She’s set to perform at Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar
Read the full interview, here.