Mary J. Blige knows how to get a party started, and how to end one with a bang. The singer, songwriter, and actor—and 2022 TIME100 honoree—closed out the TIME100 Gala on Wednesday night in New York City by bringing her fellow honorees and gala guests to their feet with an energetic performance of her classic hits over the ages.
For Blige, a Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated, multi-talented icon who has been a fixture of show business since her start in New York hip-hop in the 1990s, being on the TIME100 list—as a cover star—was no small honor. “I never dreamed in a million years I’d be on the cover of TIME Magazine,” she told TIME. Blige had a breakout moment at February’s Super Bowl LVI, where she joined fellow hip-hop icons Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent for their throwback performance, but her musical hits span decades, and her acting has earned accolades.
As for the legacy she is creating? “Mary J Blige is a person that has given so much of her life and her time to the world and has struggled,” she said. “I just hope that my legacy is that I’ve given and that I’ve loved and that I’ve worked hard. All those things. And that I’ve inspired generation after generation.”
Blige performed “Good Morning Gorgeous” off of her latest album of the same name, riffing to appreciative applause. She then asked the audience to stand for her all-time hit “Family Affair,” a request the crowd was happy to oblige. “We’re all family here,” she said before she launched into the song. Guests like director Taika Waititi, activist Tarana Burke, and actor Andrew Garfield could be clearly seen enjoying the performance. She finished with “Just Fine” from 2007 album Growing Pains, prefacing it with a line delivered with conviction: “Everything—and I mean everything—is gonna be just fine!” she said.
Returning after two years on pause, the TIME100 Gala is TIME’s annual celebration of the TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people, released this year on May 23. The Gala brings together icons, leaders, change-makers, and celebrities from across industries and nations for one lively evening of meaningful dialogue and celebration. This year’s Gala features live performances from Blige and Miranda Lambert, two honorees on the 2022 TIME100 list. Further attendees from this year’s list include actors Andrew Garfield, Ariana DeBose, and Amanda Seyfried, musicians Jazmine Sullivan, Jon Batiste, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, athlete Eileen Gu, director Taika Waititi, and legal activist Chase Strangio,
TIME is teaming up with ABC to bring viewers inside the exclusive TIME100 Gala for the first time with a special television event. TIME100: The World’s Most Influential People airs Sunday, June 12 at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC, featuring host Simu Liu, director Quinta Brunson, Ukrainian journalist Sevgil Musaieva, and more.