Mary J. Blige Says She's Excited to Be Sole Female Halftime Performer: 'I'm Respected by My Male Peers'

Mary J. Blige is standing proud as the only female performer slated for this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show on Sunday.

via People:

While recently chatting with PEOPLE about partnering with Hologic Inc. for a commercial that is set to air during the big game on Sunday evening, the singer, 51, also opens up about how she is thrilled to perform alongside her male musician colleagues at Super Bowl LVI.

Noting that she is “excited” and “feeling great” ahead of the halftime performance that will take place during the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, Blige tells PEOPLE exclusively, “I love it,” when asked how she feels about being the only female in the lineup alongside Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar.

“I love the fact that I’m respected by my male peers like that, I’ve always been. I’ve never had a problem with any of my male peers,” Blige — whose new album Good Morning Gorgeous dropped on Friday — continues. “And I actually have a lot of male fans too.”

“To actually have Dr. Dre reach out and ask was just huge, because Dr. Dre is one of the most important people in hip-hop, and as a producer, as a writer, as a rapper. He’s just the one, you know?” she adds.

Last month, Pepsi teased fans about its highly anticipated Super Bowl Halftime Show with an epic trailer for this year’s performance. In the nearly four-minute clip, entitled “The Call,” each Super Bowl LVI halftime performer receives a text message from Dr. Dre, 51, inviting them to meet at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

The trailer begins with Eminem, 49, and an imaginary version of his former self, before the scene shifts to an airplane taking off into the sunset and flying over Snoop Dogg, 50, driving a vintage car. Suddenly, the “Gin and Juice” rapper receives a text of his own and quickly whips his car around. There, a bystander watches him pass by while live-streaming Blige on her cell phone.

Blige is then seen posing for photos while adoring fans look on from Times Square in New York City. The singer takes photos in front of her luxury car, as she too receives a text and heads out. The scene shifts to Lamar, 34, who is shown speedily brainstorming lyrics before he gets his text and races over to SoFi Stadium, uniting with the other artists ahead of their performance.

Before the meetup, Dr. Dre takes a walk on a foggy beach as his 1999 song “Still D.R.E.” is played on piano keys that appear in the ocean. In the next scene, the rapper moves chess pieces around a mini version of Los Angeles as sparks fly around him.

Continuing to speak with PEOPLE, Blige details the dynamic between herself and the other four Super Bowl Halftime Show stars. “We are incredible, we’re like the Super Friends,” she says. “It’s crazy.”

Explaining that the group is incredibly focused on creating a memorable performance, the “Real Love” singer notes there is no time for any hijinks during rehearsals. “Everybody’s just focused. No one’s pranking, everybody’s just focused and tweaking this, and being in unity on whatever we need to fix or work out,” she says.

Blige also tells PEOPLE that she looks to past Super Bowl Halftime Show performances from Prince and Michael Jackson for inspiration — “Those were the biggest and the best to me,” she says — and the Power Book II: Ghost star notes that she hasn’t discussed performing with any past Super Bowl Halftime Show performers.

Still, Blige says getting to perform as a guest on the Super Bowl stage in 2001, where she starred alongside Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Nelly and Aerosmith, helped prepare her for this current moment. “It was a blessing to be a part of it, and I was grateful to be there, just in the mix of all those people,” the Grammy Award winner shares. “It all helps, everything helps. It’s just a blessing.”

During Sunday’s big game, a commercial that Blige lends her likeness to is set to air from Hologic Inc. — marking the health company’s first-ever national advertising campaign.

Titled “Her Health Is Her Wealth,” the ad highlights how despite her busy lifestyle, Blige is still able to make time in her hectic schedule for her annual doctor’s exams. The company hopes it will inspire other women to do the same.

Working on the commercial, Blige says, was important to her as someone who has lost “several female family members” to cancer over the years. “My health is my everything. Without my health I can’t do anything, so early detection is everything,” she explains.

“Being an example moves people better than just talking about it. That’s why it’s really important for people to see what you’re doing, instead of just you talking about it,” she adds of her involvement with the spot, which was “created by women, for women to reinforce the importance of preventive screenings,” according to a press release.

‘Super Bowl LVI’ kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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