‘See In Color’ Through Mary’s Eyes

The riveting drama Precious hit theaters this weekend and those who've seen it have proclaimed that it is not to be missed. Strong performances and Oscar talk for its stars aside, something else that has tongues wagging is the soundtrack to the film, which prominently features Mary J. Blige.
In addition to the first single, "Destiny," Mary contributes the track "I Can See In Color" to the piece.
Mary conjures up the blues and paints a vivid picture with her words and vocals. And we're her captivate audience for five-and-a-half minutes. This is, dare I say it, one of the best performances Mary has given us in years.

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7 Responses

  1. Listening to the melody and lyrics of this song is a joy and pain experience. Mary can reach deep into your heart and pull out those feelings you try to hide, interpreting her vision for life. Her song is not only compelling, but poignant. Her efforts to tell a story are truly remarkable.

  2. This song touched my soul and it sounds as though it touched the depths of Mary's as well.

  3. All i can say is DAMN. sounds like a genuine stax recording! MJB at her finest. Note to all the wannabe youngins, THIS is how it's done.

  4. Also interesting, that when watching the commercials for the movie I did not notice that the case worker was Mariah...
    h/t: rolling stone:
    By the time Mariah Carey appears in a pivotal scene in the movie Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” By Sapphire, it’s easy to forget she’s a glamorous chart-topper with flawless makeup and designer tastes. As tears well up in her unadorned eyes onscreen, she is transformed into welfare case worker Ms. Weiss. Lenny Kravitz’s role in the film is not as much of a stretch. He plays Nurse John, a charming rock star of the ward, so to speak, who makes the girls’ hearts flutter.
    “From my first film, Monster’s Ball, with Puffy and Mos Def to Macy Gray in Shadowboxer, Eve in The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon, a musician has been in every film I’ve done,” says director/producer Lee Daniels in a one-on-one interview with Rolling Stone during the Toronto International Film Festival. “I love musicians. I’m going to do a musical next year [with Kravitz]. I’m not allowed to talk about it.”
    Lee was joined at the gala screening by Carey, author Sapphire, executive producers Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Lisa Cortes and composer Mary J. Blige. Neither Carey nor Kravitz are the lead characters, but their parts propel the harrowing story of a sexually and mentally abused Harlem teenager who’s betrayed by the very people who are supposed to love her but stays deteremined to break out of her lot in life. It’s a film so intense Daniels says he couldn’t afford to cast stars whose celebrity is bigger than their talent. So how did he know Carey could successfully take on that role?
    “Because we’d just finished working together in a film. It’s called Tennessee, by a Canadian director Aaron Woodley, a little tiny movie and she starred in it for me. We became really good friends and I knew that she had the chops,” says Lee. “She does an incredible impersonation of Aretha Franklin. Not her singing voice but her speaking voice! She channels people’s voices.”
    As for Kravitz, Lee calls him one of his best friends. “He’s going to be working with me on the next thing that I’m doing,” he says cryptically about the musical. “So I thought it was a way for him to see how it was that I worked. Like Mo’Nique [who stars as Precious' mother, Mary] worked with me in Shadowboxer, so she has a shorthand that we established so that we’d be ready to do this, we knew each other. And I think that this movie with Lenny will prepare me and him to work together better on the next movie.”
    Kravitz also wrote a song for the soundtrack called “Do It” and Mary J. Blige composed the theme “I Can See In Color.” At a press conference at TIFF earlier this week, Blige said, “When I saw the film, all I could think about was growing up in my neighborhood and knowing that girl Precious or that guy Precious and actually living in those situations myself.”
    She added, “My life seemed like, from the time I was 5 to maybe my late-20s, everything was black and white because I had never dealt with the issues that Precious had to do. And the reason I named this song ‘I Can See In Color’ was because when I finally woke up or got to a point where I said, ‘I can not live like this anymore,’ it just seemed like everything turned into color.
    Kravitz did not attend TIFF, but Tyler also used “System,” a song the rocker produced for reunited group Labelle. “It’s about the political system and the welfare system,” says Lee, who placed it in a crucial scene where Precious receives another life-changing blow. Curiously, Carey does not have a song in the movie. “I did not want to use Mariah’s music. It’s what I fought. It’s like the biggest, hardest thing ever for me,” he says emphatically, “because I wanted to make sure that she was noted for her acting. It was so important to me that she was noted for her acting.”

  5. Oh and Kazz I agree about the sound. Turns out if you can't get Stax these days who do you go to?
    Raphael Saadiq (oh and let's not forget LaNeah Menzies; whom you guys have to do a blerb about:
    During the recording of an original song for the forthcoming film “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” director Lee Daniels “made me pull every single thing from my guts,” Mary J. Blige told a packed house Friday (Oct. 30) at The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference.
    “He said, ‘I know you have it in you.’ I finally got to the point where the very next day I just went in and threw up on the record.”
    Blige joined producer Raphael Saadiq, her co-writer along with LaNeah Menzies of the movie’s song “I Can See in Color,” in an interview with Billboard senior editor Gail Mitchell to discuss the inspiration and creative process behind the track.
    Both Blige and Saadiq were emotionally affected by the subject matter of the film, which is out from Lionsgate Nov. 6. Blige, who had her own troubled childhood, could particularly relate to the movie’s depiction of physical and verbal abuse. After she watched the movie, Blige said she “just sat there for two minutes, stuck, with nothing to say.”
    Revisiting painful memories while making “I Can See In Color” was a frightening process, “but it was the worry and fear that gave the record its presence,” said a tearful Blige. “I just get tired of having to tell a story over and over again. Then you see a movie like that and you know why you have to tell a story over and over and over again.”
    After seeing the movie, “I called my uncle and thanked him for not molesting me,” said Saadiq. “He was like, what?”
    The song’s title was inspired by Blige, who said she sees music, and life, in colors. “When I’m depressed, I see in black and white. The flowers are not yellow…this movie is very grim but optimistic.” Working with Saadiq, whom Blige said brings a “rawness” to music, meant that “I could just give him what I can see and he can make it come to life.”
    Both Blige and Saadiq are interested in pursuing more film projects. Blige said she would “put my all” into a long-discussed Nina Simone biopic, while Saadiq would like to set music to a day-in-the-life depiction of Bill Cosby or Sidney Poitier.

  6. wow--Mary J. and Raphael Saadiq. i'm looking forward to more collaborations. nice!


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