There’s nothing like getting together with your girlfriends to talk about life over a meal or a drink. Settling in for juicy conversation and having the space and safety to be vulnerable is one of the best parts of feminine friendships. And it’s the spirit brought to the first episode of “The Wine Down with Mary J. Blige,” which premiered March 1 on BET.
The show is described as Blige having candid conversations with her friends about life, love, relationships, sex, and more.
In a statement about the partnership between Blige and the network, she notes, “BET has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my career,” Blige said. “Being able to now create together, for them to be so supportive of my vision for the type of content I will create, is something I am grateful and excited for. We already have multiple projects in the works and there is much more to come.”
The first episode, Sex, Love, & Situationships, features Taraji P. Henson and Caresha “Young Miami” Brownlee, and they waste no time revealing their thoughts and ideas about their sexual pasts, desires, and concerns.
I’m a fan of truthful conversations, so this was right up my alley, especially since celebrities are rarely this open. Typically opting to play it coy and trying to keep it cute. But I was shocked at how honest Henson was about her sexual beliefs and practices, “If you make me c—, here comes the bride, here comes the bride,” Henson says at one point. She even talks about female ejaculation in a hilarious reveal about herself. It certainly seems like it’s real wine in those glasses.
Blige opened up about her marriage, subsequent divorce, and its aftermath that left her teetering on the edge after years of mental abuse.
“When I was married, I was already dead,” Blige says. “I was married for 13 years, with the person for 16 years. First eight I was hoping that something would change. Last eight I was hoping that something would change, and nothing ever changed. It just kept getting worse and worse and worse and worse. […] It didn’t matter no more whether people saw me acting ignorant because the whole marriage was the most embarrassing, humiliating sh— that I could ever encounter. I stayed because I thought I was supposed to stay.”
Both Henson and Blige were very open about their inability to have sex without connection, while Brownlee was enthusiastic about her ability to compartmentalize her feelings with her desire for pleasure.
The emotional ebbs and flows that Blige and Henson experience over the course of the episode are notable and show the possibility of “The Wine Down” as a show. Both women are honest about their struggles with love and figuring out how to center themselves after decades of centering romantic connections no matter the cost.
However, one of the things I hate about conversations focusing on love and relationships across media is how often people throw around cliches. Brownlee says, “You got to love yourself first, before you can love someone else,” and “know what you bring to the table.” Henson mentions that her generation—gen x—started the Strong Black Woman identity—which isn’t true—and declares they were the first generation of women to walk away from bad relationships. She never mentions why women of previous generations couldn’t just leave. These small moments left me wishing there was someone around to counter a few statements and beliefs made by the guests and host.
The best part of conversations with your girls is walking away feeling a little lighter and thinking a little deeper, and the first episode of “The Wine Down with Mary J. Blige” managed to do that. Unfortunately, little else has been released about upcoming episodes or topics to be discussed, so there’s no telling whether this was a fluke or the start of something real.