Mary J. Blige on Hillary Clinton singing interview: "I'm a singer before I'm a journalist"
Mary J. Blige is already catching flack for her interview with Hillary Clinton, and Apple Music hasn't even premiered the full video yet. After the streaming giant teased the first episode of Blige's new show The 411 showing a clip of Blige singing an emotional Bruce Spingsteen ballad while holding the Democratic presidential nominee's hand, the internet erupted into memes mocking the R&B artist.
But the singer-songwriter defended the emotional moment she shared with the former secretary of state at an Apple event on Wednesday afternoon, telling reporters, "I'm a singer before I'm a journalist. This journalist stuff is brand new," Billboard reported.
Apple Music's clip for The 411 shows Blige covering Bruce Springsteen's "American Skin (41 Shots)," a song written after 1999 police shooting of Amadou Diallo, detailing the racial injustice that continues to plague the nation to this day.
According to Blige, singing the melody to the potential next president was her official way of getting her message across — the only way she knows best.
"I wanted to incorporate the song in the show because the lyrics resonated with me so deeply and so heavily because of all the shootings and police brutality and I never got a chance to say anything," Blige continued. "I didn't warm up ... I just sang ... It was organic and that's how it went. And hopefully, I believe she felt it, I think she did."
Of course, with 2016 being the savage that it is, Blige hasn't gotten a pass for the admittedly cheesy interview moment. Tweets mocking the interview showed stills of Blige asking Clinton questions like, "What will you do to fix the national epidemic of hateration in this dancerie?" and poking fun at lyrics from her songs like "Not Gon' Cry."
Still, Blige says she got a lot of out the exchange with the presidential candidate. "I was blown away by how organic and real she was," Blige said. "When I met her, she was generally concerned about what I was doing. She hugged me like a grandma — and I needed that hug at the moment."
Blige will not be singing to any further guests on her forthcoming show The 411, according to Hollywood Reporter.