In 2018, Mary J. Blige scored an Oscar nomination for both her performance in original song in the film Mudbound. With Best Original Song and Best Supporting Actress nominations, she was the first performer to be nominated for both singing and acting in a film.

The Grammy award-winning singer credited Mudbound director Dee Rees for saving her life and giving her strength she did not know she possessed.

“Mudbound has opened up doors,” Blige stated speaking of the new opportunities acting has presented her.

Blige credited hard work for the history-making feat. In an interview with CBS, Blige stated, “I’ve been working my a– off … I’ve worked really hard. This moment is the pay-off, and this moment says, ‘You know what, Mary? You stood strong.’”

Blige is not a stranger to strength and perseverance. Despite past childhood trauma, she made it out of the projects of Yonkers, New York. Even in her adult life, Blige possessed the strength to walk away from circumstances that were longer serving her.

She was introduced to us with her debut album What’s the 411? executive produced by Sean Combs. We now know her as a singer-songwriter, philanthropist and actress. Her legacy includes nine Grammy wins, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, countless other music awards and her Oscar nominations.

The multihyphenate currently stars in Power Book II: Ghost on Starz.