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Mary J. Blige's Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit: Empowering Women and Elevating Voices

by Venus Sanders

Photo Credit: Sterlingpics for Mary J. Blige


Over the weekend, New York City experienced a transformation as the third annual Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit took over the vibrant streets. Hosted by the iconic Mary J. Blige, in partnership with PEPSI®, Live Nation Urban, and MVD Inc., this three-day extravaganza celebrated music, empowerment, and community, leaving a lasting impact on attendees.

The brainchild of Mary J. Blige, the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit is a unique event, curated exclusively by an all-Black female team. After two successful years in Atlanta, the festival made its triumphant return to the birthplace of Hip-Hop, New York City, for an unforgettable weekend.

“This past weekend was a whirlwind in the best way possible,” expressed Mary J. Blige. “Getting to bring this home to NYC is something I won’t forget. Thank you to everyone who came out, to all my family who participated, and to everyone involved, including my partners at Pepsi, who made this dream come to life. Until next year!”

The festivities kicked off with an intimate welcome party hosted by Mary J. Blige herself at Corner Social in Harlem. Guests were treated to cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and the soulful sounds of Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex. The evening continued with two sold-out jazz shows headlined by 5x GRAMMY-winning artist Robert Glasper at the legendary Blue Note, where Mary J. Blige graced the stage to share inspiring anecdotes and a mantra of empowerment.

Saturday morning saw over 4,000 attendees gather for the Strength of a Woman Summit at The Glasshouse. This highly-anticipated summit featured motivational prayers, welcome remarks from renowned personalities, and star-studded panels. Among the highlights was “Girl Talk with MJB,” a candid conversation celebrating the magical bond of Black women’s friendships, featuring Mary J. Blige alongside celebrity besties Angie Martinez, Taraji P. Henson, and Tasha Smith.

The summit also included an enlightening panel titled “Our Men Honor the Strength of a Woman,” led by the cast of Starz’s hit series, including Method Man, Larenz Tate, Michael Rainey Jr., Da’Vinchi, and Mekai Curtis. With additional contributions from notable speakers like Marsai Martin, Pinky Cole Hayes, and Misa Hylton, the event covered topics ranging from wellness and finance to culture and entrepreneurship.

Co-hosted by comedians Jess Hilarious and Gia Peppers, the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit offered a total of nine panels, all designed to empower, educate, and elevate attendees. Through inspiring programming and pivotal discussions, the event embodied its mission of promoting empowerment, elevation, education, and equity.

As the festival came to a close, it left a lasting impact on all who attended, reaffirming the power of community, collaboration, and collective empowerment. Mary J. Blige's vision of creating a space for women to thrive and voices to be heard was brought to life, setting the stage for future celebrations of strength and flexibility.

Photo Credit: Sterlingpics for Mary J. Blige


As an African American female entrepreneur, being part of this transformative event was a source of immense pleasure and inspiration. The summit transcended boundaries, welcoming women from various backgrounds and industries to come together in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment. It provided a platform for them to not only share their personal journeys - both the triumphs and challenges - but also for us to glean wisdom from those who have paved the way before us.

One such inspiring figure was Pinky Cole Hayes, the visionary founder of Slutty Vegan, whose enlightening insights into business success, time management, and financial planning resonated deeply with attendees. Equally impactful were the uplifting words of Tasha Smith, who infused the summit with spiritual guidance and reminded us all of the importance of keeping faith at the forefront of our lives.

Exclusive Video and Image Content Credit: Lisa K. Stephenson for She's SINGLE Magazine

The highlight of the summit was undoubtedly the panel featuring powerhouse women Angie Martinez, Tasha Smith, Taraji P. Henson, and Mary J. Blige. Their candid discussions, sprinkled with humor and lightheartedness, served as a refreshing reminder of the solidity and vulnerability inherent in female solidarity. As both a spectator and entrepreneur, being part of such a remarkable display of humility and camaraderie among women filled my heart with gratitude. It underscored the transformative power of coming together to uplift and support one another on our respective journeys.

The Strength of a Woman Summit is not just an event; it's a revolutionary celebration of female empowerment that deserves all the accolades. Women of all races and backgrounds should aspire to attend this monumental gathering, where personal stories are shared, teachable moments abound, and lasting connections are forged.

To all the remarkable women who lent their time, stories, and wisdom to this extraordinary event, thank you for exemplifying the true strength and beauty of womanhood.


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