Remember the fierce backlash Mary J. Blige got for interviewing — and serenading — Hilary Clinton?
Well, Blige has something to say to all you haters.
“That was going to be my first female president, so I’m going hard for people to hear her voice and see her other than a politician,” Blige told Variety Wednesday, Sept. 6, after noting she was “petrified” of the sit-down. “They took one piece of the song and played it everywhere. And then they felt stupid afterward [because] the interview was great.
“That’s the problem — people take a piece of something that they don’t understand and pick at it and tease it.”
Blige interviewed the then-Democratic presidential nominee about the concerns of Black America last September as part of the Apple Music program, “The 411 with Mary J. Blige.” Fans latched onto Blige crooning Bruce Springsteen’s “American Skin (41 Shots)” to Clinton, which featured lyrics akin to respectability politics.
Related: Mary J. Blige’s Hard Year
“If an officer stops you, always be polite,” Blige sang. “And never ever run away.”
— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) September 27, 2016
While the response led to some hilarious GIFs, Blige felt pained by the scrutiny.
“It was a moment for me where I was like, “‘I’m actually interviewing Hillary Clinton,'” she said. “That was close to graduating from high school. My people didn’t accept it. So, I was like, ‘Here’s another hit.'”
She followed up with the release of “Thick of It” that October, which had the quickest climb to No. 1 on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart in 21 years. The next month, Americans elected Donald Trump as the 45th president.
“We used to be a country that people looked at and respected,” Blige said. “Now, we’re a country that people look at and judge. The integrity of the United States is lost. Is this a reflection of who we are? Look at who our leader is.”