“You have been added to the guest list for the Atlanta screening of ‘The London Sessions’ at the Buckhead Theater on November 10th.Please advise that this does not guarantee entrance and early arrival is suggested,” said the email I’ve been anticipating to receive this past weekend. I was about to be in the building with Mary J. Blige.
MJB, The Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul, Grammy Winner, legendary, iconic and my favorite artist are just a few words that comes to mind when I think of Mary. I couldn’t believe the woman who has inspired several posts on the site will be in town and I almost missed it. Mind you, I found out about this event through one of my best friends, Tron formerly of What’s The T, told me about it via our group text message.
“OMG JIMMIE!!!!!,” Tron said via text, “Did you know about Mary being in Atlanta on Monday? Email the people and see if you can a get a ticket.” As a die hard MJB fan, I did just that and awaited a response to see my musical idol.
Cut to Sunday night when I found out that I was granted access to the see the Queen in ATL. I assumed the event was an intimate gathering where the fans would have a chance to ask MJB questions and possibly an opportunity to express how she has inspired us and looking forward to hearing the new music, and by the way, may I take a pic with you because I need these Instagram likes. You know, the shit you say when you meet a celeb.
I spent the rest of the evening thinking of things to say and what questions to ask to the person I have admired for over two decades. “How did you come up with the Mary Bop?” was the only question I could think of unfortunately.
Then thought about what I’ve said to everyone that I’ve met previously, who like Mary, have inspired me: Lil’ Kim, E. Lynn Harris, and Wendy Williams: “Thank you for being an inspiration to me and many others. Thank you for the many sacrifices you’ve made to break the barriers and paving the way for me. Congrats to your success and I wish you continued success.” Sound cool but how I am going to say this to Mary Jane Blige Issacs with out sobbing and passing out like I caught the Holy Ghost in church.
Fast forward to the night of the event. People were lined up for a chance to see MJB. Ladies in boots, furs, and various throwback Mary-inspired blonde quickweaves and lacefronts on parade. Fans discussing their favorite MJB songs. Not Gon Cry. No More Drama. Real Love. I’m Goin’ Down. Whole Damn Year. And that’s when your heard the record scratch, straight silence, and the look of confusion. Apparently, some die hard MJB fans didn’t know about her new song, A Whole Damn Year. For most of them, its been a whole damn fifteen years since they bought a Mary album.
Once inside the beautiful and historic Buckhead theater, we were greeted by guest services. I gave the young lady my name and she hands me two blue wristbands for me and my friend Chad who accompanied me to the event. That’s when my heart sunk. I wasn’t going to meet Mary at all nor will I have the opportunity to speak with her. Why? My wristband had general admission. I didn’t have the all access VIP pass. I was going to sit behind the SEMI-VIPs: radio personalities, government officials, pseudo-celebs from your local ratchet reality shows.
Despite my disappointment, I was still enjoying the moment. This was my first experience going to a private screening of a movie and having my good friend Chad there to joke with made the experience better. As we waiting for the movie to start, soulful house music was being pumped through the speakers and we began to hear a familiar wail. Oh shit! We’re listening to Mary’s new music and it sounds amazing. The crowd was excited and all you hear is “Get it Mary!” from every corner of the theater.
Moments later, BET executive Stephen Hill walks on the stage to greet the crowd of MJB fans and supporters. He gives a brief synopsis of the documentary we’re about to watch and getting us prepared for our music journey to London, England and experience the behind the scenes of creating The London Sessions.
The 45 minute documentary showcased Mary in the studio and working with different producers such as Disclosure, Sam Smith, and Emeli Sande, all of whom has been gaining radio play in the United States. From a fan’s perspective, I was elated to see my favorite artist get inspired experimenting with a different sound and enjoying making music again. The reoccurring themes of the documentary was freedom to express your art, stepping out of your comfort zone, and not being afraid to grow as a person and artist.
After the documentary ended, we gave a standing ovation for the guest of honor: The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and now one of the Queens of Dance Music, Mary J. Blige. Dressed in boots, jeans, and fur vest, MJB sat down with Stephen Hill to discuss the documentary. Mary stated she’s looking forward to performing some of her favorite tracks on the album and she was finally glad to make the music that she wants again.
After the 15 minute interview, Mary thanked the crowd for coming and supporting her over the years. She also received two awards from the City of Atlanta but I honestly couldn’t tell you what they were. I was just happy to be in the room with my inspiration and getting inspired to do more.
The London Sessions will be released on December 2nd, two days before my birthday. Until then, check out Mary’s latest video, Right Now, below.
Are you excited about Mary’s new album? What is your favorite MJB song? Share your thoughts below.