The highly-anticipated second annual Mary J. Blige x Pepsi Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit this past Mother’s Day weekend was a true celebration of female strength, resilience, and empowerment. From the inspiring chats to the dynamic performances, the four-day event in Atlanta, Georgia, was a testament to the power of women and our impact on the world. The festivities provided a space for women to connect, learn, and grow while being inspired by some of the most influential people from the worlds of business, lifestyle, and entertainment.
The summit kicked off with "An Evening with Robert Glasper" at City Winery. The renowned jazz pianist was introduced by Blige who shared with the intimate audience that she is one of his biggest fans. “If this man went on Spotify, he would see that I played [his music] at least 100 million times,” she said. Glasper’s engaging performance blended his incredible piano skills with his natural wit. He was joined by special guests: singer Luke James and poet Queen Sheba.
The next night was an epic celebration honoring the 50th year of hip-hop at the State Farm Arena. Hosted by Kenny Burns, R&B’s finest Jodeci hit the stage with a show-stopping set that had the crowd singing every lyric, followed by DJ Drama who surprised the crowd with guests T.I., K Camp, Young Dro, Bobby Valentino, Lloyd, Dem Franchize Boyz, and Travis Porter. The energy of the stage was on 100 as Blige graced the performed her greatest hits through the night along with rarely-performed tunes for a special “MJB B-Sides” segment. Jeezy “Put On” for his city” and Akon joined him for “Soul Survivor.” The excitement continued to build as Method Man rocked the stage for the classic “All I Need” with Blige, followed by a medley of some of his hits. The icing on top was when Mary surprised guests with special performances by Busta Rhymes, Rah Digga, Missy Elliot, Ciara, and Brooklyn newcomer, Lola Brooke.
Another highlight of the weekend was the summit, which took place at America’s Mart on Saturday. The panel conversations and fireside chats were a chance for attendees to hear from Black women who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. Panelists included screenwriter and TV producer Mara Brock Akil, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, radio personality Angela Yee, actress Raven Goodwin, celebrity stylist Misa Hylton, entrepreneur Mia Ray, and so many more. These women shared their stories, insights, and expertise with the audience, inspiring them to pursue their passions and make a difference in the world.
Later Saturday evening, the State Farm Arena was host to an R&B extravaganza with singer and actress Coco Jones, who captured the audience with a heart-warming performance of “ICU,” and Muni Long, who lit up the stage with her incredible vocal range as she sang “Hrs &Hrs.” Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Lucky Daye serenaded the audience with smooth vocals as he performed “Love You Too Much,” “Guess,” and “Late Night.” Summer Walker, who has taken the R&B world by storm, had the crowd swaying to her emotional ballads "Playing Games," “Session 32,” and "Insane." The powerful Lauryn Hill closed out the night with emotionally-charged renditions of her classic hits “Lost Ones,” "Doo Wop (That Thing," "Killing Me Softly," and more.
The weekend wrapped up on Mother’s Day with a soulful Sunday gospel brunch, which was hosted by Ryan Cameron and featured Kierra Sheard, Chandler Moore, and Leandria Johnson. Brunch was followed by The Purpose Ball: Bridging The Gap, to honor the LGBTQIA+ community’s undeniable impact on popular culture. The ball included a special performance by Saucy Santana. Law Roach and Blige served as special guest judges. The icons, legends, and rising stars from illustrious houses - including the House of Balenciaga, House of Garçon, House of Margiela, and House of Mugler - competed for more than $60,000 in cash prizes across different categories in fashion, face, realness, and more. The evening closed on a hilarious note with a comedy show featuring Mike Epps, Don’t Call Me White Girl, Henry Welch, Erica Duchess, and Navv Green.
Overall, Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit was a huge success, staying true to its mission of providing women with a powerful platform to come together, learn from one another, and celebrate their strength and resilience. The event was a testament to the power of community and the importance of uplifting and supporting one another on the journey to success.
Created and curated by 9x Grammy Award-Winning singer, songwriter, actress, producer, philanthropist & global superstar, Mary J. Blige, Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit is the only festival experience in the market brought to you exclusively by an all-Black, female team and has returned to the hotbed for creativity and culture, Atlanta, GA. Mary J. Blige has committed the majority of her career to amplifying, empowering, and giving voice to BIPOC women through the art of music and truth-telling. This multi-touchpoint festival, which focuses on music, wellness, tech, beauty, and financial literacy, is the evolution of her life's mission and purpose.