A Celebration of Motherly Love: Ratings Soared for VH1’s Dear Mama Special

For the second year in a row, VH1 celebrated Mother’s Day with Dear Mama: An Event to Honor Moms. Halle Berry, Gladys Knight, Taraji P. Henson and Robin Thicke were among the A-list stars present at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California earlier this month, taking the stage to give thanks to their own moms and mothers everywhere.

With 1.7 million viewers tuning in to watch the amorous ceremony, it seems these stars aren’t alone in their insurmountable love and gratitude for their moms. Dear Mama was also among the top five most-tweeted shows the day it premiered.

Here’s what the stars had to say about the women who shaped their success.

Mary J. Blige

New York Magazine once Blige the “Queen of hip-hop soul.” The legendary singer has nine Grammy awards, a prolific acting career, and legions of fans.

Yet Blige let the world know that her mother is the keystone of her success. At Dear Mama, the singer read a letter to her mother, Cora Blige (who was in the audience), describing what it was like growing up with a single mom and her memories of listening to her mother sing and dance around the house.

“You gave me everything I love about me,” said Blige. “You were to us the greatest dancer, the greatest mother, the greatest cook, the greatest friend. I know I didn’t listen to you a lot when I was younger, but I can hear you so clearly now as a woman. You are the strength of a woman.”

One of those songs Blige remembers hearing her mother sing? Gladys Knight’s Motown hit, Midnight Train to Georgia. As a surprise to her mother, Blige brought Knight onstage to perform the classic.

Halle Berry

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry honored a mother from the Jenesse Center, a nonprofit domestic violence organization where Berry volunteers. Although the actress wasn’t raised by this woman, she gave a vigorous speech attesting to the value of every mother’s safety, and the responsibility we all share to make sure these moms can maintain the “courage to survive.”

Berry spoke of building houses and creating safe havens for women who have recently escaped dangerous home environments.

“I have counseled young mothers to make sure they maintain their new independence,” said Berry. “I have gotten down and dirty with these women. They are my heart and soul.”

DJ Khaled

Producer, mogul, author, and spokesperson for Get Schooled’s award-winning Keys to Success campaign DJ Khaled saluted his fiancée Nicole Tuck, who was sitting in the front row with the couple’s 6-month-old Asahd. Her face glistening with tears as Khaled extolled “his Queen.”

“No words can explain how much I love you,” said Khaled. “You and God gave me my biggest blessing. And that’s my son Asahd. So me and Asahd, we want to honor you, and show you how important you are to us, and how much we appreciate you. I got you for life.”

After his moving testimony, Khaled walked off stage and handed a bouquet of flowers to the toddler, who gave them right to his mommy.

See the rest of the performances, speeches, and moments on VH1.com.

The ratings success of Dear Mama follows a streak of torrid ratings for VH1, with hits like Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, Hip Hop Squares, Black Ink Crew, The Breaks and RuPaul’s Drag Race (formerly on sister network Logo) contributing to an 11 percent average increase in ratings each year, over seven consecutive quarters.

This increase is specific to VH1’s target audience of adults over 50 years old. This demographic is the most-coveted audience in the advertising industry, and VH1’s shows are drawing viewers in with a mix of scripted series, game shows, reality TV, and more.

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