[artist id="854"]Mary J. Blige[/artist] confirmed on Thursday (September 10) that she will not be participating in Jermaine Jackson's overseas tribute to Michael Jackson.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul said she was crushed she couldn't participate; however, a contractual obligation in Milan will prevent her from making the trip to Austria, where the tribute show is scheduled to take place. Chris Brown and Akon are also slated to appear, although Brown has yet to confirm. [artist id="9883"]Jermaine Jackson[/artist], [artist id="4742"]Natalie Cole[/artist] and [artist id="16269"]Sister Sledge[/artist] will perform, it was previously announced.
"There's a lot going on at the time — I'm really, really sorry that I'm not gonna be able to be there," Blige told MTV News. " 'Cause why wouldn't I want to do a tribute to Michael Jackson?"
The singer said MJ's music meant so much to her growing up, saying the Gloved One was the reason she pursued a musical career. She even recalled one of the first times she saw his "Thriller" video.
"When we didn't have anything and we were in our neighborhood, we were running home cutting school to watch the 'Thriller' video on MTV," she said. "He broke barriers that day and every day since then."
Blige said she's looking forward to [artist id="1090"]Janet Jackson[/artist]'s tribute to her late brother this Sunday at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. There are a number of songs Janet could perform, but any selection will do for Blige — she's rooting for Jackson.
"I'm hoping Janet shuts the whole place down," she said.
Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, airing live at 9 p.m. New York is celebrating the VMAs all week long, so stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.