Mary J. Blige is easily one of the most legendary R&B singers of our generation, and at the 2018 Oscars she performed an Oscar-nominated track for the event, “Mighty River” from the movie Mudbound. After appearing on the red carpet in a stunning all-white gown, she swapped into a gorgeous burgundy number for an electrifying performance of the gospel-tinged track.
Mudbound is one of many historical nominations this year, as it is the first time a woman was nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar, with cinematographer Rachel Morrison making history in that category. For her part, Mary J. Blige is nominated for an award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film as Florence Jackson. Though Blige’s performance was just as indicative of her own powerful work over the years, it’s certainly another example of the sweeping shift that the Oscars are seeking to bring about this year.
In his opening monologue, Jimmy Kimmel addressed the rampant change that has been sweeping through the Academy as actresses and other women in the industry have sought to oust their abusers with movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up. If you’re listening to the song, “Mighty River,” in that context, it becomes even more relevant for 2018. Joined by a choir behind her during the brief reprise of the song, there was something in Blige’s bearing that suggested she knew the weight of the track in this context, too. Watch above.