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Oprah: They just don't know the truth.

Mary: And yet some of these guys are brilliant. Performers like 50 Cent and Jay-Z are ridiculously smart. Not all ghetto children are imbeciles. They have brains.

Oprah: Some of them just don't recognize their power. Once a popular rapper was on my show, and he was defending his lyrics by saying, "It's my art." I go, "I respect the art thing. But you are a smart person—and a smart person has to recognize that he or she is speaking to millions who may not be as smart."

Mary: That's right.

Oprah: Is it a struggle for you to stay off drugs and alcohol?

Mary: Not the drugs. I have to be careful with the alcohol.

Oprah: Can you drink a glass of wine from time to time?

Mary: Absolutely. But after two glasses, I shut it down. Okay, so maybe it's two nice big goblets—I've got to keep it real around here—but I know how to handle it now. It's like being on a diet—I've got to leave it open enough for me to have some carbs.

Oprah: Earlier, you mentioned PMS. Does it hit you hard?

Mary: God, yes! I need some kind of drug for it. My past always seems to come up during that time. Sugar makes it worse.

Oprah: Chocolate makes it worse.

Mary: I'd always thought chocolate soothed PMS. It doesn't. Just ask my husband.

Oprah: You're 35. You're in the absolute heart of life. What's your vision for yourself this year?

Mary: My dream is to learn how to love myself more. To know what God wants me to do. To love my husband better. To be confident enough to give myself a break.

Oprah: So your wish is to really know who you are.

Mary: Yes.

Oprah: I can see that you have glimpses of your power, and that you recognize that you are loved more than you could ever know, but sometimes you lose sight of that. You forget. You want to stay connected to that truth all the time.

Mary: Exactly. Yesterday when I was working with Bono on a video, I saw a silhouette on the monitor. I said, "Who's that?" Honest to God, for a second I didn't know it was me.

Oprah: Who did it look like?

Mary: It looked like an incredible creature. It looked like a woman who's confident and filled with the spirit of God.

Oprah: That's fantastic, Mary Jane Blige.

Mary: I'm proud of the progress I've made. I'm proud of finally being able to recognize what I need to change about myself. I'm proud that I've been redeemed. Right now I'm focused. I want to get better. I want to be that woman in the silhouette all the time. That's my girl. That's my freedom.

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