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[BLANK_AUDIO] So you're producing Ladies Night at the Essence festival, which is sure to be epic. Can't wait for Monica, Jasmine [UNKNOWN] and everybody. But what can we expect? And what was the inspiration behind that night? Well, what we can expect is a night filled with women Down to Earth, you know beautiful people, women I can hang around. You know, and that's very rare when you find some women in the music business that you can sit and write a song, have a conversation with, become friends with, that's That's rare, so I pick women that I can really be comfortable around. Because that's very rare. You can't really be comfortable around a lot of women. And you also have the Queen, Chaka Khan. Well, she is the queen. I grew up listening to Chaka Khan. Her voice is what I wish I had. I wish I could sing like Chaka Khan. She's like an instrument, a horn section, a brass section. And she's just effortless with everything that comes out of her vocal cords. So, I mean, what treat. [BLANK_AUDIO]

New hair, who dis?! The Essence Festival is a prime spot for epic debuts and Mary J. Blige may have just pulled off this year’s biggest one. The singer, who will headline the mainstage on Saturday (July 1), just hit the Empowerment Stage for her “Strength of a Woman” panel, where she unveiled her edgiest hairstyle to date. 

Paras Griffin

Dressed in frayed denim jeans, a black crop top and matching denim jacket, the singer and actress’ glowed in lengthy blonde braids and an undercut.

Paras Griffin

She also showed off her new do while posing with her fellow panelists Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica, Kristi Henderson, Niecy Nash and moderator Tamron Hall. 

Paras Griffin

The singer is no stranger to protective styling, but this one in particular is the perfect compliment to her fun and fresh summer style. 

Since making her debut over 25 years ago, Mary has slayed the stage in a slew of innovative ‘dos. And although we love her signature mushroom cut, this transformation is her most epic, to say the least. 

We see you Mary and we’re here for all of your blonde braid magic!