Mary J. Blige hit every note to her ’90s chart-toppers and nailed her choreography at the 2019 BET Awards, to the delight of nostalgic fans! Lil’ Kim even hopped on stage for a blowout duet, after both ladies changed out of their red carpet attire.
Mary J. Blige, 48, was the center of attention at the 2019 BET Awards, for more reasons than one! As the honoree of the lifetime achievement award, she already grabbed our attention before Rihanna even presented the icon with her well-deserved trophy. But Mary demanded even more of our attention after rolling up to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 23, where the acclaimed singer-songwriter stepped out on the red carpet in a white gown with silver sequined detail from Alberta Ferretti. She completed the look with dark eye makeup and blonde hair in tight curls.
After the award show played a moving tribute for Mary, the R&B star proved she’s not just an icon to reminisce on. Much like her iced-out theme for the red carpet, Mary busted onto the stage in an all-white ensemble: a crop top and booty shorts with crystal details, a powerful trench coat with fur trimming and larger-than-life sunglasses. Of course, she strutted on stage in bedazzled thigh-high boots. After an emotional performance of “No More Drama,” Mary ditched the floor-length coat to belt out to classic jams like “Real Love,” a remix to “Love No Limit” and “I Can Love You” (Lil’ Kim, 44, joined Mary for this track, blowing viewers away even more — they first teamed up for the collaboration in 1997). We’re checking our calendars now — are we in the ’90s/early 2000s?
Waves of fans also noticed that Mary is still quick on her feet and smooth with her vocals, just like she was in her 20s. “I can’t explain how happy that Mary J. Blige performance was. It was quintessential Mary,” one fan tweeted, while another viewer wrote, “It ain’t Mary J Blige without the thigh high boots and those iconic dance moves😂😂😂.” Other fans obsessed over Mary and Kim’s reunion on stage, and one viewer made an excellent observation: “Mary J Blige. Lil Kim. Name a more iconic duo. #BETAwards19.”
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) June 24, 2019
Mary has a resume that stands out in the music and acting industry: nine Grammy Awards, six BET Awards, 10 Billboard Music Awards and even more nominations (32 Grammy Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations and two Oscar nominations for her role in the 2018 film Mudbound). Mary has had a long time to build such an impressive track record, considering that she signed on as Uptown Records’ youngest and first female singer at just the age of 18! That paved the way to memorable R&B and hip hop hits like “Be Without You,” “Family Affair” and “No More Drama.”
Mary’s fellow lifetime achievement honorees from past years are a legendary bunch: Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Prince, Charlie Wilson, Lionel Richie, Samuel L. Jackson and Anita Baker, just to name a few! Even more incredible artists formed the performer lineup at the 2019 BET Awards: Cardi B, Lizzo, H.E.R., Migos, DJ Khaled, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Baby, Yung Miami of City Girls and more.
Even with the lifetime achievement award under her belt, Mary is not slowing down. The singer will team up with Nas, 45, for their first ever tour together that will kick off in West Palm Beach, Fla. on July 11. Mary will also be serving as a judge at the Love Ball in New York City on June 25. The event will benefit the CFDA-Vogue Initiative/New York City AIDS Fund of The New York Community Trust, and is being sponsored by MAC Cosmetics — Mary is currently a spokesperson for the makeup company!