THE ART ISSUE

Strength of a Woman: Mary J. Blige Photographed By Carrie Mae Weems


Mary J. Blige - Crowning Glory - December 2017
Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco.

For W’s Art Issue, Mary J. Blige and Carrie Mae Weems teamed up to talk, and to make pictures that pay homage to Blige’s continuing reign and Weems’s The Kitchen Table Series and 2010 Slow Fade to Black series. They met recently in a ­landmark 1920s-era bank building in Brooklyn and enjoyed a conversation that covered the gamut, from the portrayal of African-Americans in the media, their upbringing, being strong women in male-dominated worlds, and their new projects, including Blige’s excellent album Strength of a Woman, and her upcoming role in Dee Rees’s critically acclaimed Mudbound.* The pictures and their conversation make clear that Weems and Blige both command the spaces they occupy: Weems with her camera and incantatory style of speech, Blige with her presence and voice.

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Mary J. Blige wears an Alberta Ferretti cape; Joseph coat; Djula earrings; vintage crown from Early Halloween, New York.

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Mary J. Blige wears an Alberta Ferretti cape; Joseph coat; Djula earrings; vintage crown from Early Halloween, New York.

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Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco. Hair by Kim Kimble for Kimble Hair Care Systems at 
SixK.LA; makeup by D’Andre Michael for U.G.L.Y. Girl 
Cosmetics. Set design by Kadu Lennox at Frank Reps. Produced by Carly Day at Rosco Production; Production Coordinator: Marie Robinson at Rosco Production; retouching by silhouette studio; Lighting Director: Rob Kassabian at Honey Artists; Photography Assistants: James Wang, Pamela Vander Zwan, Adger Cowans; Lighting Assistant: David Schinman; Gaffer: Armando Reyes; Fashion Assistants: EJ Briones, nicholas eftaxias; Tailor: Christy Rilling; Set Design Coordinator: Joanna Seitz; Production Assistants: Will Foster, Alejandro Armas, Carl Miller; Special thanks to Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter, Skylight Studios, Pier59 Locations.

Pologeorgis coat; Gucci jacket; Fred Leighton tiara and necklace; stylist’s own earrings.

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Balmain dress; Jacob & Co. earrings; Munnu the Gem Palace ring.

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Oscar de la Renta dress; Djula earrings; (right hand, top) Vhernier ring; David Webb rings. Carrie Mae Weems wears her own clothing and jewelry.

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First column from top: Alberta Ferretti cape; Joseph coat. Balmain dress. Third column: Oscar de la Renta dress. Tom Ford dress. Fifth column: Oscar de la Renta dress. Oscar de la Renta dress; Tom Ford coat.