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Mary J. Blige turned 50 on Monday and was fêted with an all-day virtual “surprise birthday bash,” featuring gospel great Karen Clark Sheard, Missy Elliott, Gabrielle Union, Common, Angela Bassett, and others.
Sheard kicked off the party by singing “Happy Birthday,” while Blige’s family and friends left messages for the queen of hip-hop soul.
“Happy birthday, dearest darling Mary. I am so glad I get to live in a time and space where you exist… I am beyond thrilled that I have had moments to share the soft side of you and the exuberant side of you as well,” Bassett said.
Common even reminisced about the time he crushed on her: “You’re looking more beautiful, more vibrant, more in your greatness. You’re an inspiration,” he said. “You’ve always been one of my favorite artists, and people I’ve gotten to connect with, in this whole business. And I always crushed on you when I was younger — when we were younger … You’re the queen.”
“MeToo” founder Tarana Burke, Professional Black Girl social media influencer Dr. Yaba Blay, hip-hop archivist Syreeta Gates and journalist Karen Good Marable created a site to “celebrate the life and legacy” of the singer.