R&B singer Mary J. Blige has been in the game for the last 20 years and in that time she's not only made her mark on the urban music scene, but she's focused on using her energy to encourage other women. And so McDonald's decided to honor her at its 8th annual 365 Black Awards to kick off the annual Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
The awards honor 365 African American entreprenuers who are giving back to their communities. Blige was recognized for her FAWN project (For the Advancement of Women Now), which helps underprivileged women nationwide.
"My brand is being built with my friend, my partner Steve Stoute" Blige told MTV. "We're doing amazing things. We are here for FAWN today. We're being honored by McDonalds because of our work with philanthropy. FAWN was just a baby, it was born just two years ago. And Steve came to me and said 'what are you most passionate about?' and the very first thing that jumped out of my mouth was saving the lives of women."
Her brand manager and business partner Stoute was present to see Blige accept her award. During her acceptance speech, Blige acknowledged the work of other honorees like Radio One head Cathy Hughes, actor Ruby Dee and NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous.
"I am so humbled and so honored, I don't have words to express how appreciative I am to be in a room full of entrepreneurs," she said.
(Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)