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Mary J. Blige and Partners Host a Stellar Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit in New York



The streets of New York City pulsated with energy over the weekend as the third annual Strength of a Woman Festival, and Summit descended upon the city from May 10th to May 12th. Spearheaded by the iconic Mary J. Blige, in partnership with PEPSI®, Live Nation Urban, and MVD Inc., this event marked a triumphant celebration of music, empowerment, and community.

Photos by: @hercshotthat

This year, the festival took a significant leap, transitioning from its previous location in Atlanta to the birthplace of Hip-Hop, New York City. What set this event apart was its unique curation by an all-Black female team, a testament to the festival’s commitment to diversity and empowerment. Mary J. Blige, recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, created a space that celebrated the resilience and strength of women through music, engaging sessions, and heartfelt testimonials.

Reflecting on the weekend, Mary J. Blige expressed her gratitude, saying, “This past weekend was a whirlwind in the best way possible. Bringing this event home to NYC is something I’ll always cherish. Thank you to everyone who participated, including my family and our partners, including Pepsi, for making this dream a reality. Until next year.”

The festival and Summit drew in a diverse crowd, all captivated by the inspiring discussions and performances. Notably, it stood out for its pioneering marketplace experience, orchestrated entirely by a team of Black women. This emphasis on diversity and empowerment resonated throughout the event.

The festivities commenced with an intimate welcome party hosted by Mary J. Blige at Corner Social in Harlem on Friday, May 10th. The evening continued with two sold-out jazz shows at the legendary Blue Note in Greenwich Village, headlined by 5x GRAMMY-winning artist Robert Glasper.

Saturday morning saw over 4,000 attendees gather for the Strength of a Woman Summit at The Glasshouse. The Summit began with a motivational prayer by Tasha Smith and welcome remarks from comedian Jess Hilarious. Panels throughout the day included “Girl Talk with MJB,” a candid conversation celebrating the bonds of Black women’s friendships, featuring Mary J. Blige alongside Angie Martinez, Taraji P. Henson, and Tasha Smith. A panel titled “Our Men Honor the Strength of a Woman” also provided a dynamic discussion led by the cast of Starz’s hit series, among other notable speakers.

The day reached its crescendo with a star-studded concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The lineup was a testament to the festival’s commitment to showcasing diverse talent, with Mary J. Blige headlining and performances by 50 Cent, Jill Scott, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Lola Brooke, Honey Bxby, and Funk Flex. Hosted by Angie Martinez, the evening included a special tribute to ‘Hip Hop Moms’ and a surprise serenade by rising quartet WanMor, leaving the audience in awe.

On the final day, the festival concluded with a sold-out Mother’s Day Brunch Experience hosted by Mary J. Blige at Brooklyn Chop House in Times Square.

Expanding its influence across the New York City boroughs, this year’s festival not only embodied its mission of empowerment and education but also made a tangible difference in the community. The launch of the Pepsi x Mary J. Blige Strength of a Woman Community Fund by Pepsi further underscored the event’s commitment to supporting underserved women in Mary’s hometown of Yonkers, NY, solidifying the festival’s impact on the community and paving the way for future growth.

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