Sure, plenty of people are fans of Mary J. Blige. They can sing some of her greatest hits word-for-word and imitate her now-iconic “Go Mary!” two-step to “Be Happy.” But a select group of creative devotees have turned their love for the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul into an impressive website.
TOMARYWITHLOVE.com launches today (January 11) on the singer’s 50th birthday. The site is dedicated to giving Blige her roses as she reaches a major milestone birthday. It has everything from “voicemails” done by her celebrity friends and fans, articles about her undeniable influence, and even a boot archive to help you learn more about a bevvy of the signature thigh-highs Blige has worn over the years. (You can even sign a petition to try and persuade Blige to start a boot line for the masses.)
It’s quite the accomplishment by those who worked together to create this colorful homage: Yaba Blay, founder of Professional Black Girl, Tarana Burke author and organizer of the #MeToo Movement, Syreeta Gates of The Gates Preserve, and writer Karen Good Marable.
“Mary has been such a major part of my life since 1991-1992,” Burke tells MadameNoire. “She’s from where I’m from and has sung the soundtrack to my life in so many ways. I’m just excited to give her the flowers and love she deserves right now. Because as she says herself: she is a queen and leader and a living legend.”
The idea originated from Blay, who crowned the legendary singer the “patron saint” of professional Black girls. Its end result is a thoughtful celebration of an artist who has had such impact on so many.
“What can we say that hasn’t already been said? What you’re about to experience here, on TOMARYWITHLOVE.com, is evidence of just how much you mean to US, Black folk in particular, Professional Black Girls especially,” the intro page reads in a letter to Blige. “We love you DEEP. And we could not let this milestone birthday pass without giving you your flowers.”
To launch the site, TOMARYWITHLOVE.com will be marking Blige’s birthday with a full roster of events on social media, including a DJ set of her hits at noon. And while the site goes live on her 50th birthday, there’s a lot to learn from it even after the special occasion ends. There’s an insightful interview with her longtime stylist Misa Hylton-Brim, as well as plenty of written works that explain why she’s due a whole platform honoring her greatness.
If you’d like to get in on the celebration, or just want to go full Mary Stan today and every day, visit TOMARYWITHLOVE.com and follow #ToMaryWithLove all day on Instagram and Twitter to honor the queen. Hail Mary!