Mary J. Blige, clad in a sequined turquoise halter dress and gold hoops, was the last honoree to accept her Woman of the Year Award. Longtime friend and colleague Taraji P. Henson gave Blige’s introduction speech, noting the important representation Blige offered Henson and countless others like her. “When I was dreaming as a kid, I never saw anyone that really looked like me, spoke like me,” Henson recalled. “The first time I heard Mary J. Blige sing, I said, ‘That’s me! That girl is like me! She sounds like me, she is speaking the way my heart speaks.’ I felt seen…. I know all superheroes don’t wear capes, but, sis, I see yours. Your entire catalog is the soundtrack to my life, and I know I’m not the only one or woman here that feels that way.”
Topping it all off, Henson welcomed the Sing Harlem youth choir to the stage to sing an impassioned medley of Blige classics. Blige, moved to tears by the performance, admitted she felt “speechless tonight” when she took the stage to accept her award. “To all you women out there, just keep loving on you— that’s it,” she shared.
Once each honoree had received their flowers, the venue emptied as attendees collected complimentary gift baskets on their way out, with some revelers gathering downtown to continue the celebration.
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