“The Wine Down with Mary J. Blige” is debuting as a two-episode special on March 1st and 8th on BET, with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Blige’s guest in the show’s second episode. Blige is an executive producer of “The Wine Down with Mary J. Blige,” her first unscripted project as part of her first-look deal with BET. Blige has what it takes to stand out from other talk show hosts. Her show is definitely meant for adults—curse words and sex talk are uncensored—but it would look fake if Blige presented a program that played it too safe.
Forget about the usual rehearsed promotions of a celebrity’s latest projects, which have become the predictable interview formats for most talk shows that have entertainers as their frequent guests. Blige wants her guests to show people who they really are when they aren’t surrounded by adoring fans, when they’re overwhelmed by self-doubt, or when they ask themselves, “Why am I not happier?”
Henson starts off bubbly and wisecracking during the interview while making a point of saying multiple times that she’s happy. But then, toward the end of the interview, Henson admits, with tears in her eyes: “I haven’t been happy in a long time,” after Blige gets her to open up about some of her good and bad experiences with love relationships.
Blige asks questions in the first episode, such as “Who was your first love?” “What’s your best sex?” and “What do you love about yourself?” The answers are revealing. She doesn’t let herself off the hook, as she answers those questions too. And in the first episode, she gets a little teary-eyed and emotional when remembering going through some of her toughest times. “I’m not going to cry. No pun intended,” Blige says half-jokingly when referencing her 1995 hit “Not Gon’ Cry.”
Most TV talk show hosts don’t want to dig this deep with celebrity guests. Blige is not only bringing a proverbial shovel, but she’s also weeding out all the phony stardom fluff and dumping it before the interview even starts. She wants to know what problems keep her guests up at night, how they survived toxic relationships, and how they really feel about themselves. Blige isn’t afraid to open up about the messy parts of her life either.