Mary J. Blige is presently working on new music, which is always exciting to know, but whom she’s collaborating with to create those tunes has some people confused and somewhat disappointed.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul shared a photo of herself in the studio with rapper Fabolous, and the two can be seen vibing to whatever music is playing, having a good time. She praised the Brooklyn rapper in the caption for the series of photos, taken by photographer friend Robert Ector.
“Thank you @myfabolouslife for always coming thru with the good vibes!!” the caption read. “I really appreciate your ear for great music and all your love and support!! #StudioVibes”
The whole thing looks and feels harmless at first glance, but there were some who took to the comment section to tell the star that the “Throw It in The Bag” rapper is not someone she should align herself with. Born John David Jackson, the 42-year-old was arrested in 2018 for assaulting long-time girlfriend Emily Bustamante, reportedly for punching her multiple times in the face, causing her to lose teeth. Video also surfaced soon after of him threatening Bustamante’s father during a confrontation at the couple’s home, with Fabolous walking towards the frightened Bustamante with something in his hand. In October 2018 he was indicted on felony charges of domestic assault, eventually accepting a plea deal in 2019. The couple stayed together after the fact.
“I’ll never understand why women continue to support abusive men,” said a commenter on Blige’s post, who received criticism from some but support from a number of others.
‘I was totally thinking the same thing…..especially women who have suffered abuse and witnessed it as children. AND although we seen it on video he has never publicly apologized to her but I guess since they moved on we should too,” said a commenter in response. “I just cant……”
“I’m surprised at this post u always speak on not letting men disrespect you and u support an abuser,” said another commenter to Blige. “Dont understand.”
And the comments on The Shade Room shared a similar sentiment.
“I’m really disappointed that people don’t hold him accountable for his domestic violence against women,” someone said. “Like she didn’t even need to collaborate let alon [sic] shout him out. Especially her being a survivor”
“Not looking forward to any music from a man who would rearrange a woman’s teeth and pull a knife on the same woman’s father,” said another.
There were others though who remarked that it’s just music, and what has gone on in Fabolous and Emily B’s personal life is not Blige’s business, nor ours. Some also stated that if Emily was ready to move forward with the rapper and even expand the family she shares with him, the rest of us can practice forgiveness, too. And though Fabolous hasn’t publicly condemned the behavior he was accused of, he said he and Bustamante dealt with the fallout from it.
“We just had to deal with it internally. It wasn’t about dealing with it publicly. That’s where I put my energy and focus into, dealing with it internally,” he said during a Hot 97 interview. “Publicly, everyone’s going to have their opinions, there’s going to be speculation. ‘Oh what really happened?’ But the clarity I was looking for was inside more than anything, because that’s the people I have to deal with every day. Those are the people that I care about, that I love, that I want to make sure they are clear on what’s going on. So that’s what I focused on.”
As for Blige, considering she first collaborated with Fabolous years before the news-making domestic violence episode, it’s not a total shock that she wouldn’t distance herself.
But as previously mentioned, she too has been a victim of domestic abuse, most notably by ex-boyfriend K-Ci Hailey. She noted in a 2002 interview with The Guardian that an unnamed boyfriend tried to kill her.
“I was in a hellish relationship. When you hate yourself, you draw people to you who hate you too,” she said at the time. “You get sick and tired of being sick and tired, of people beating on you. It was the day I was almost murdered. I screamed with all the breath I had left as my boyfriend physically tried to take me out of this world. There were weapons involved. I said, I can’t do this no more. I had seen little signs of it after two or three years with him, but that day I said, no more of this drama.”
As someone who has faced such violence, it is interesting to see her publicly standing by Fabolous. She will no longer allow such mistreatment as she described in that old interview from romantic partners in the present, but it seems Blige doesn’t have an opinion concerning the abuse of other women by men she’s forged friendships with in the industry. Fabolous isn’t the only one. Nas was accused of domestic violence towards ex-wife Kelis, but Blige recently toured with him as they’ve been friends and musical collaborators since the ’90s. But since these same figures, particularly in hip-hop, aren’t taken to task or thrown off radio for violence towards women (hell, people were just jamming to Tory Lanez’s new album after being accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion), it’s no wonder that Blige may not see it necessary to cut ties. Many, women included, still support the music and defend the behavior of men accused of beating and sexually abusing women.
At the end of the day, we all have personal values and standards that we abide by which dictate whom we support and what we will and won’t surround ourselves with. While many of us wouldn’t dare stand by a man in everyday life whom we knew knocked his girlfriend’s teeth out, not everyone is the same — especially in the entertainment industry. All that being said, Blige is allowed to work and dance merrily with whomever she pleases, whether the people like it or not. But those same people are also allowed to have questions about it.