The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, was inducted into the world famous Apollo Theater’s historic Walk of Fame on Friday (May 28).
The ceremony took place in the heart of Harlem, NY in front of the landmark building on 125th Street. According to CBS New York, Blige first performed on “Showtime At The Apollo” in 1992. She later performed in 1995, 2001 and headlined a sold-out show at the iconic venue in 2002.
“My very first time performing here at the Apollo, I was not on stage as myself. I was on stage singing background for Jeff Gray. And then from there on, it was all history, Mary J. Blige history, so, thank y’all so so so much for everything,” Blige said.
At 50, the nine-time Grammy award winning diva is the youngest living person to be honored by the 87-year-old theater. She joins Celia Cruz, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Little Richard, Stevie Wonder and Patti LaBelle among other legendary Black artists who have bronze plaques along the pavement in front of the Apollo.
The Apollo’s Walk of Fame was established in 2010 with a Community Initiatives Program grant from the Harlem Community Development Corporation. Apollo Theater Board Chair Charles Phillips, longtime historian Billy “Mr. Apollo” Mitchell and Apollo executive producer Kamilah Forbes were in attendance to celebrate the “Real Love” singer.
“Miss Blige is more than the queen of hip hop soul, she is a multi-talented artist who has paved the way for many of the artists we see today,” Forbes told the crowd. “She is one of the defining voices of our generation. Miss Blige helped to redefine what R&B and hip hop could be.”
Truly gracious of the honor, Blige thanked her fans and teased her upcoming film. “I got something special coming for y’all, June 25 — it’s the My Life documentary.” Sean “Love” Combs and Blige co-executive produced the doc, which will reportedly give viewers a personal and never before seen look into the emotional journey of Mary J. Blige’s past struggles with poverty, abuse, addiction, and heartbreak.”