Now a nine-time Grammy Award winner and an Oscar-nominated actress, Blige has come a long way from her humble beginnings in the Bronx.
Located on Harlem’s 125th Street, the 87-year-old Apollo Theater is a famed New York City cultural landmark known for discovering and celebrating Black talent. It began recognizing outstanding Black performers with its Walk of Fame in 2010.
Blige, as many Black artists, had her own history at the iconic venue.
“My very first time performing here at the Apollo, I was not on stage as myself. I was on stage singing background for Jeff Redd,” Blige recalled at the event, according to the local CBS affiliate. ‘And from there on, it was all history.”
Blige has distinguished herself with a gritty sound and raw, heartfelt delivery that has captured fans with songs such as “No More Drama,” “Not Gon Cry” and “Real Love.” Also an actress, she has gained two Oscar nods for her performance in “Mudbound.”
“Miss Blige is more than the queen of hip-hop soul, she is a multitalented artist who has paved the way for many of the artists we see today,” Apollo executive producer Kamilah Forbes said to the fans gathered for the outdoor morning ceremony, according to the Daily News.
“She is one of the defining voices of our generation,” Forbes added. “Miss Blige helped to redefine what R&B and hip-hop could be.