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Mary J. Blige urges Black women to get mammograms to detect breast cancer

Mary J. Blige speaks in NYC during “Screening the System: A Dialogue on Bias and Breast Health”; Noam Galai/Getty Images for Hologic

As Mary J. Blige prepares to perform at the Super Bowl 56 halftime show in February, she wants her female fans to focus on getting a mammogram now during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Queen of Hip Hop Soul has partnered with the Hologic medical technology company to spread awareness about the disease. She says families need to have more conversations about breast cancer and the importance of getting mammograms.

“My aunt died from breast cancer. My grandmother died from cervical cancer and one of my aunts just died from lung cancer,” Mary J said during in a panel this week in New York City, titled “Screening the System: A Dialogue on Bias and Breast Health,” according to Essence. “What happens is they end up in the hospital and there’s no one in our families speaking about it when we’re younger.”

The 50-year-old singer says she was not aware of the need for early detection until ten years ago, when she turned 40. “They don’t discuss this when we’re children. They don’t say, ‘Go get a mammogram.’ You learn about this as you get older,” she said. “So they don’t speak about it and that’s why they end up in the hospital with two weeks to live and now you know about it. That’s why it’s extremely important to me.”

Next year, the nine-time Grammy winner will celebrate her 30th anniversary in the music business. She’s a trusted role model for many women, and she wants to use her platform to help her female fans stay healthy.

“I’ve been in the forefront all my life as Mary J. Blige the singer,” she said. “Now I want to help women heal from breast cancer. I want to help us feel beautiful all the way around.”

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