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Mary J. Blige has been inducted into the Apollo Theater’s Walk of Fame.
“None of this is possible without the fans, so thank you to all the fans,” she said at the event in Harlem. “My very first time performing here at the Apollo, I was not onstage as myself, I was onstage singing background for Jeff Redd,” she told the crowd. “From there on it was all history.”
Blige made her first appearance, “Showtime at the Apollo,” with rapper Father MC as a backup singer on his 1990 single “I’ll Do 4 U.” Her solo debut would be just two years later when she performed “You Remind Me.”
As she received her plaque, Blige expressed her joy over receiving the accolade and everything it represents.
“It means everything. I mean the Apollo is the most important thing to our culture as African-American artists. If it wasn’t for the Apollo, we wouldn’t have a chance. People wouldn’t have gotten discovered.”
Over her career spanning more than two decades, the “Queen of R&B” has racked up nine Grammys and more than one lifetime achievement award.
“Miss Blige is more than the queen of hip-hop soul, she is a multitalented artist who has paved the way for many of the artists we see today,” Apollo executive producer Kamilah Forbes said Friday morning.
The 2021 inductees include Tina Turner, Carole King, The Go-Go’s, JAY-Z, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren, Kraftwerk, Charley Patton, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, Billy Preston, Randy Rhoads, and Clarence Avant.