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Mary J. Blige was 'embarrassed' for Lil Kim at 1999 MTV VMAs

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Mary J. Blige says she was "embarrassed" for friend and fellow music artist Lil Kim during the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.

The 49-year-old singer and actress said on Tuesday's episode of Watch What Happens Live that she was angry when singer Diana Ross touched Lil Kim's breast onstage at the event in September 1999.

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Blige and Lil Kim, who was wearing a purple jumpsuit with one breast exposed, introduced Ross during the awards show. Ross seemed to marvel at Lil Kim's look before patting the rapper's pasty-covered breast.

On WWHL, Blige said she felt protective of Lil Kim during the incident.

"I was embarrassed for Kim, and I was really pissed when that happened, because that's my little sister and my friend," the star said.

"Kim is courageous. She's gonna do what Kim does, so I think we all should respect it like we respect ... Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj and Cardi [B]," she added. "Respect Lil Kim. This is what they do. Respect them."

Lil Kim looked back on the moment during an interview at Essence Festival in July 2019.

"Now that's legendary," she said. "The boss. I love Diana Ross. I always said if I did a movie about my life, she would play my mom. And I told her that."

On WWHL, Blige praised Lil Kim as a "trailblazer" for women in rap.

"One of the most incredible female rappers, that opened the door for so many women," she said. "One of the biggest ... one of the most respected rappers in the business."

Blige also had praise for late singer Whitney Houston.

"The most generous woman I've ever met. A giver. Beautiful spirit. Just too generous," she said.

Blige released her 13th studio album, Strength of a Woman, in 2017. She last released the single "Know" in August 2019.

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