Mary J. Blige’s reign has only become more expansive with time. Not only is she the queen of hip hop soul, the international icon has also been taking over the small screen with roles in “The Umbrella Academy,” “Black-ish,” “Power Book II: Ghost,” and much more. Not to mention, Blige recently launched her own star-studded series with BET, called “The Wine Down,” where she links up with some of her closest friends for intimate conversations about life. Music, television, fashion, children’s books — MJB does it all. But that’s no surprise.
Decades ago, she hit the music scene with a look and sound that would forever change hip hop and R&B culture. Today, the living legend’s personal life story encourages women to stay true to themselves, fight for what they believe in, and chase their dreams unapologetically. Blige’s perseverance shows young girls and women everywhere that anything is possible — no matter how humble their beginnings may be. That’s why it was extra special when REVOLT caught up with her during the season three “Power Book II: Ghost” junket.
In the series, MJB stars as Monet Tejada, wife to drug kingpin Lorenzo Tejada (Berto Colon). Handling the family business before and when Lorenzo is freed from prison, Monet and her children find themselves navigating, and sometimes aligning with, New York’s most dangerous players — including inscrutable college student Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.). Monet is strategic, ruthless and determined to see her family stay on top. From turf wars to secret trysts and children, the drama has been endless thus far.
In this exclusive sit-down for Women’s History Month, the television star talked about the hit show, what to expect from her character this go ’round, the traits many female trailblazers have in common, what it means to embrace femininity and more. Get into our chat with Mary J. Blige below, and tune into “Power Book II: Ghost” every Friday on STARZ to see her in action as the murderous yet ultra-protective Mrs. Tejada.
Monet Tejada’s journey has been extremely intense. What can fans expect from her in season three?
Last season, Zeke was killed and Monet is not taking that well in season three. You’re going to see a little bit more of a vulnerable side of her, but not a side that you don’t recognize. Two things happened when Zeke was killed — her baby that she just reunited with is dead and also her exit strategy for being out of the game, since she was trying to get out with Zeke as a ballplayer. Now, both things are gone. She needs answers and she’s mad that people are seeing her so vulnerable and seeing her cry. She’s pissed off about that and she’s also pissed off about somebody killing her kid. She’s not in a good place.
What have you learned from playing Monet?
I learned what not to do (laughs). You can’t live like that. Me — Mary J. Blige — I can’t live not trusting people. I can’t live like everybody’s a suspect. That’s what I’m learning — what not to do.
You are the epitome of a strong Black woman. What traits do you see in yourself or Monet that breed female trailblazers?
Just no nonsense — our yes is our yes, and our no is no. We persevere through anything and everything. We have high pain thresholds because we don’t have a choice, we’ve been hurt so much. We follow our gut and our instincts, and we don’t take any mess from people. We try to be good people. That’s the first thing we always try to do is be good people until you make us not good people.
Strong Black women don’t always have the opportunity to sit back and enjoy their femininity. How do you balance the two?
I had to learn how to pick my battles and surrender to things that I don’t have control over — stop trying to control everything. And the things I have some control over, work hard at changing them. Work hard at doing things that can benefit me in my life instead of trying to control people and things. That’s the balance: Just trying to surrender, let everything fall where it’s going to fall — and once it falls, you felt this pain before, so we fix it.
How would you describe season three of “Power Book II: Ghost” overall? What can fans look forward to?
Wow (laughs). That’s all I can say. The first three episodes are just the warm-up. This thing explodes! It goes crazy (smiles).