Mary J. Blige Inducted This 'Fearless' Singer into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

During her nearly three decades in the music business, Mary J. Blige has given the world many wonderful songs. She thinks her songs are similar to those of another legendary artist. Here’s what Blige said when she inducted this artist into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Mary J. Blige said the artist she inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was a ‘queen’

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has included artists who aren’t really rock artists for quite some time. In recent years, however, it has inducted more artists of different genres than ever before. For example Jay-Z, Tina Turner, and Whitney Houston were all inducted into the Hall of Fame in the last two years.

Nina Simone wasn’t a rock singer either, however, Blige inducted her into the Hall of Fame in 2018. At the beginning of her speech, Blige said she was going to speak for a long time. She didn;t care because she was paying tribute to Simone, a “queen.” She described Simone as “bold, strong, feisty and fearless, and so vulnerable and transparent all at the same time.” She also praised Simone’s musical versatility, noting she covered songs by the Bee Gees, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan.

Mary J. Blige’s connections to Nina Simone

Blige saw herself in Simone. “I know that Nina and I have a lot in common,” Blige said. “Through our pain and our turmoil, we sing and we heal and we help people heal and we help people get through it. Just like Nina, I can do a record with whoever I want – I can do a record with Elton John or with Bono or with Jay-Z or with Method Man and no one will ask, ‘Why is she doing that?’

“That’s because I know exactly what I want and who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing,” Blige continued. “And that’s what Nina did, and that is why she is so important and she means so much to me. And so, it is with great pride and great pleasure that I now welcome Nina Simone into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”

Simone passed away in 2003. In her place, her brother, Sam Waymon gave the acceptance speech at Simone’s induction. He said everything Blige said about his sister was true.

Interestingly, Blige was connected to Simone beyond that night. The Hollywood Reporter says she was once set to play Simone in the biopic Nina. Blige left the project when it went through financial troubles. However, Zoe Saldana of Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Trek fame ultimately starred in the film. Blige inducted Simone into the Hall of Fame — and there’s a lot of similarities between the two artists.

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