Mary J. Blige’s singing interview of Hillary Clinton on Apple Music is oddly inspiring

Image: Apple Music
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More than just a few eyebrows were raised when Apple Music announced earlier this week that R&B artist Mary J. Blige would interview Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a half-hour segment on Blige’s new show, The 411. That’s largely because the one-minute teaser released by the streaming service was downright uncomfortable—featuring Blige passionately singing about racism and police brutality to a stilted-looking Clinton sitting two feet away.

The memes all but wrote themselves.

Apple Music released the whole interview Sept. 30—which you can watch here, even without an Apple Music subscription—and the conversation between Blige and Clinton actually offers some unexpected depth. Among the topics discussed are leadership lessons Clinton learned from years of watching her husband serve as president, as well as her frustration with her public image. “I do believe that when you’re in the public eye, whether it’s in entertainment or it’s in politics, you do have the challenge of presenting yourself and having people perceive you as who you think you are,” Clinton said.

As for Blige’s seemingly out-of-nowhere a capella stunt? The singer explained that she chose to sing lyrics from Bruce Springsteen’s “American Skin” to the presidential candidate in an effort to make Clinton personally feel the frustration of the US’s black community.

It worked. Clinton, grasping hands with Blige at one point, said she is “heartbroken” that “African American parents have to sit their children down and deliver the message that you just sang.”

Said Clinton, “I think you should sing in every interview that you do. It’s so emotionally powerful, Mary.”

Apple Music will soon release a handful more episodes from Blige’s show, which is hosted exclusively on the streaming service. The singer told journalists that none of the others will feature her singing from her seat.