News just in, Mary J Blige was announced last week as one of the headliners for the 2018 Essence festival in the Louisiana Superdrome in New Orleans on 5-8 July. The New York singer, song writer, rapper, producer and actress is getting a lot of recognition recently this time not for music, (yep, she got her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2018), but for acting.

The Strength of a Woman singer has just made Oscars history and silenced her critics by being nominated for an acting performance and an original song nomination all in one year.

The R&B icon already has nine Grammy awards and stars in a supporting role in Mudbound as Florence Jackson, an impoverished farmer’s wife. The American period drama film was directed by Dee Rees based on the novel Mudbound written by Hillary Jordan.

Oscar bound? Woman of the Moment: Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound. Credit: Steve Dietl/Netflix

The film is about two World War II veterans, one black, one white who go back to rural Mississippi and address issues of racism and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Blige has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her outstanding performance in this role.

If that wasn’t enough, she wrote and recorded the Mudbound theme, Mighty River, a “rallying cry against racial division” and is at the top of the list for nominated best film song award alongside This Is Me from The Greatest Showman and Remember Me from Coco.

Oscar bound? Woman of the Moment: Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound. Credit: Steve Dietl/Netflix

In previous years, Oscar-nominated actors who have performed songs in the best original song category, for example Jennifer Hudson’s Dreamgirls’ smash hit Love You I Do, the award is given to the songwriter rather than the artist who performed it. In Blige’s case, she co-wrote Mighty River with Raphael Saadiq and therefore becomes the first person ever to get a double nomination.

In an interview with The LA Times, Blige was suitably proud of herself for the double nomination. She said: “It feels really good to be recognized, with all these nominations, because it shows that someone recognizes my hard work and the dedication and the time and how serious I’m taking this craft.” She continued: “That means a lot because I never wanted to take this lightly [and] I didn’t want people to look at me like I didn’t take it seriously because you have the Queen Latifahs and the Tarajis [P. Henson] and the Angela Bassetts and the Viola Davises who worked really hard to pave the way for us. I really want them to be proud of me as well.”

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