ESSENCE Music Festival headliner Mary J. Blige is not only the queen of hip-hop soul, she’s also the queen of ESSENCE magazine covers. Blige has graced the cover a whopping 12 times, each more beautiful and stylish than the last.

True MJB fans have always been inspired by her realness and openness about the good and bad times in her life. Here, the R&B diva goes through the 12 covers and shares her memories, thoughts and behind-the-scenes details.