NEW YORK — [artist id="854"]Mary J. Blige[/artist] aims to inspire and empower women through her songs and charitable efforts, so it's fitting that the legendary singer is among several honorees — including actress Raven-Symoné, model Naomi Campbell and [artist id="1198"]Queen Latifah[/artist] — at the Black Girls Rock! Awards on Saturday. The fourth-annual fundraiser, hosted by Regina King and Tracee Ellis Ross, salutes those who are proud to be positive role models for at-risk girls of color, among other achievements.
"I am one of those women, so they're gonna call on me," Blige said. "Black Girls Rock! reached out to my people and asked that I be involved — I guess because of the foundation I created called FFawn [Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now].
"FFAWN is about empowering women — to educate them, encourage them," she continued. "Get your confidence and self-esteem up. I'm a firm believer that if you save any woman, you save the world, because women are the nurturers. We're the reason why things grow and are born. Why wouldn't you call me? My whole movement has been ... about 'OK, all right, I need some help out here.' But I had no idea everyone else needed help more than I did. That was my movement. That began my movement."
Blige's crusade to help out her sisters dates back to when she was a youngster.
"When I was a child, I never seen any women ever treated well: black, white, hispanic," she explained.
"I'm definitely gonna talk about a lot of what I'm telling about now," she said of her speech at the ceremony. "I always have to go into my childhood to explain to people why this is so important to me. It's really important because of what I grew up in. I never seen a black woman treated well, not ever. My grandparents, when I was a kid, I saw them [treated well], but they're old — we just know what we see when they're old. But as far as women in their 30s — when I'm a child and seeing my parents and my aunts, not one woman treated well, ever. My whole thing when I was a kid was to not see another woman suffer when I get older. [At the show] I'm going into detail and going in detail. Why? Why 'Black Girls Rock'? Black girls rock because we have it the hardest. We have it the hardest because our testimonies are stronger probably than anybody on the earth."