Fresh off receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 BET Awards, Mary J. Blige is heading into new territory in her life, having struck a TV production deal with Lionsgate.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul will create and produce TV shows for the studio through her Blue Butterfly company, Variety reports. As part of the “first-look” deal, which gives Lionsgate first dibs on whatever Blige and her company create, she will also have the opportunity to produce material for other Lionsgate platforms.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Lionsgate. They are incredible collaborators and have been natural partners from when we first started talking. I can’t wait to bring all of our projects to life,” Blige said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Blige has been flexing her acting muscles for some time now, often to critical acclaim.
She made history as a dual Oscar nominee in both acting and music categories for her star turn in the Netflix movie Mudbound. And she currently appears in the Netflix TV series The Umbrella Academy.
As THR notes, Blige joins a number of artists and talents who have struck first-look and other deals with Lionsgate, including: veteran TV writer and creator Yvette Lee Bowser; rapper and actor Common; Power executive producer Courtney Kemp; and Love & Hip-Hop creator Mona Scott-Young.
For its part, Lionsgate, the studio behind shows like Orange Is the New Black and Dear White People, also expressed its excitement over adding Blige to its roster of partners.
Said Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs, per Variety:
“Mary is a very talented artist, fearless visionary and an incredible human being. We’re delighted to be working with someone with such a powerful and impactful creative voice. Every art she touches blossoms, and we’re humbled she’s chosen us as her home. We look forward to all the exciting new content Mary and her Blue Butterfly banner will bring to our television slate and Lionsgate 360 orbit.”