We have great news for folks here in South Florida. Next week Mary J. Blige will be coming to town with her Liberation Tour. Overall, this promises to be a very good show with D’Angelo and Anita Baker also scheduled to appear. Blige has many fans around the world, as her over 50 million albums sold offers testimony. Billboard Magazine ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years. My wife and I sometimes disagree on our preferences of singers, but we very much agree and like Mary J. Blige’s music. For me, I respect her overall musical abilities. She possesses natural talent as a singer and really understands the musical arrangement. Her abilities remind me of the way my father used to speak about Billie Holliday. Not that I am comparing Mary J. Blige to Billie Holliday, the similarity is strictly that of a singer who is a little more than most: like an instrumental musician. Overall, Mary’s career has resembled a long ride that still has many miles left to travel. Appropriately, her latest album is entitled, “My Life II…..the Journey Continues (Act 1). After a stellar career spanning almost twenty-five years with scores of fantastic musical performances, we are just reaching Act 1. Not only have we experienced great music, but also the life of Mary has been on display through it all. I remember telling my wife how much I love Mary J. Blige’s live performances, but she makes her audience feel the great pain from her past. She does not shy away from speaking about her abusive experience as a child, or her abusive relationship with K-Ci Haley of Jodeci including the alcohol, drug abuse and depression experienced all during her early life. Though uncomfortable to watch, her story and music are a necessary part of the overall experience. Many fans understand not only Mary J. Blige, but we all understand a little about our own personal pains and ourselves. Therefore, as Mary has put her life in order, we can feel the need for our own reclamation in our lives. Mary now seems to be doing well in her personal life and some of the past scars are still present, but somewhat healed. In 2000, Mary met music executive Martin “Kendu” Isaacs who became her manager and in 2003 the two were married. Her business ventures have become more diversified as she has added her own record label, television, and film production companies. Her perfume and line of sunglasses have also kept her busier in these latter years as well as several philanthropic endeavors. Now here we are her fans, very much like children in the backseat of the car continuing to ask, “Are we there yet”? Well, when we look at the career of Mary J. Blige it seems like there are a few more miles to travel. For now, the journey continues….