Legendary songstress Mary J. Blige has used her artistry as a source of edification and empowerment, tapping into the power of storytelling and drawing upon her life experiences to deliver musical masterpieces in which individuals can see themselves reflected. For her latest project, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is using literature as a vessel to empower youth through the creation of a children’s book, People reported.
The book—titled Mary Can!—will explore the concept of self-confidence. Pulling inspiration from the award-winning singer and actress’ childhood, it chronicles the journey of a young girl named Mary who has dreams of pursuing a career in music but is surrounded by individuals who try to limit her aspirations. She doesn’t let the naysayers deter her from bringing her vision to fruition, exemplifying a powerful lesson about protecting your dreams and believing in yourself.
The book features vibrant illustrations created by artist Ashleigh Corrin.
Blige says she hopes the book encourages youth to believe in the beauty of their dreams. “I want kids to know that there are no limits to what they can accomplish,” she shared in a statement. “My wish is for my nieces and nephews to feel they can achieve anything they imagine. Growing up, I was constantly told that my dreams were too big, too bold, and too far out of reach. I think we need to reinforce that nothing is impossible.”
Corrin says it’s been an honor to work with Blige on the project stating, “she has given herself to generations, and now today’s youth get to be touched by her courage and strength.”
Mary Can!—released under HarperCollins—is slated to hit shelves in March 2023.
2022 has been a banner year for Blige. In January, she was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2022. She also released the album Good Morning Gorgeous and delivered an electrifying performance during the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show.
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