Mary J. Blige returned to the Essence Music Festival to close out the three-day event with an emotional show spanning nearly two hours.

Hitting the stage just after midnight on Sunday (July 3), Blige rocked the crowd in a black tassel dress and matching boots, as she went through several of her hits including, 'Real Love,' 'Not Gonna Cry' and 'I'm Going Down.'

Despite being happily married for nearly a decade, Blige performed the heartfelt break-up ballads with the same passion and conviction that earned her title as the "Queen of Hip-Hop and R&B," much to the excitement of the crowd who stood on their feet and sang along for nearly the entire show. "I love ya'll so much," Blige told the crowd. "The Essence [Music] Festival is the only place to be during the Fourth of July!"

Going in and out of her 10 albums in no particular order, by the time she made it to 'No More Drama,' off the 2001 album, which has sold over five million copies worldwide, Blige's sentiments were evident. "I'mma keep saying it because I mean it," she said following the song. "I'm not perfect, I done made mistakes in my life. Thank you for having faith in me when nobody had faith in me." As she spoke to the crowd she then wrapped things up with 'Just Fine' and closed out the show with 'Be Without You.'

Now in its 17th year, the Essence Music Festival brings together artists from the world of hip-hop and R&B. For more information visit

Watch Mary J. Blige's 'Stay Down'

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