Cover Story 61: Maxi B. of Mary Jane Girls

07
Oct

SWEET MARY JANE

Maxi B., one of Rick James’ Mary Jane Girls, has found the perfect next chapter in her life. She’s a baker selling cannabis edibles under her new brand: Sweet Mary Jane’s by Maxi B.

Maxi B. was 21 when she got on a plane from Pittsburgh to Hollywood to chase her dreams. She was a singer, a model and an ex-Pittsburgh Steelers cheerleader who had designs on bigger things.

Since that day, life has taken Maxi B. a number of places — from Rick James’ recording studio to stages all over the world. She was one of the Mary Jane Girls, James’ famous girl group whose smash hit “All Night Long” still gets stuck in your head to this day.

“I came to L.A. with $50 and a dream,” she remembers.

Music turned into food, food turned into cookbooks and now Maxi’s ever-exciting life finds itself in a place she never really have expected. She’s getting into the edibles business.

“I’ve always been about healing and anti-aging super foods,” Maxi B. says. “Coming from Rick James, I’m used to marijuana. But it was intriguing to me to learn more about the medical side.

“Now,” she says. “I’m developing a baking line.”

It’s called Sweet Mary Jane’s by Maxi B. Because what else would it be called when you were one of the famous Mary Jane Girls and you’re an accomplished baker.

“I’m a person who believes you are what you eat and you can heal through food, you can heal from the Earth,” Maxi B. says. “I want to put in my bid for helping and healing people.”

IT ALL STARTED WITH RICK JAMES
To really understand how Maxi B. ended up in the edibles business, we first need to understand how she became Maxi B.

She was born Kimberly Wuletich, and when she landed in Hollywood, she got a job as a bartender at a go-go lounge. That quickly helped her meet some ladies in the entertainment industry and within a couple months, she was introduced to Rick James’ camp by fellow Mary Jane Girl Candi Ghant as they were putting together the group.

Not all Hollywood stories happen this quickly, but soon, she was Maxi B. of the Mary Jane Girls, recording music with Rick James in Motown and touring all over with her group. Music was never going to be her only hustle, though.

She quickly learned food was something she wanted to invest her time in. Mainly, because life on the road was hard and she valued her health.

“When you go on tour, it’s like aging five years,” Maxi B. says. “I had to gain that back and I decided I was going to do it through food. I learned how to ward off diseases. I learned that superfoods do these types of things. You do a little exercise and you eat right. I learned to cook fresh every day. My motto is, if it doesn’t benefit your body, do not put it in your mouth.”

The Mary Jane Girls didn’t have a ton of staying power. They lasted two albums — 1983’s self-titled effort and 1985’s “Only Four You.” A third album was recorded but wasn’t released until after James’ death. Still, they had three songs on the top 10 of the Billboard dance charts. It was 1985’s “In My House” that was their biggest song at the time, landing in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100. But “All Night Long” had the most staying power.

After the Mary Jane Girls ended, she immersed herself further into the food world. Maxi B.’s longtime boyfriend was a music executive, so she quickly built a reputation for her cooking, which was usually Southern-inspired. Her barbecue beans were a big hit. When people would visit the house, she would feed them and soon enough, she was getting offers for catering gigs.

In this time, she was feeding plenty of celebrities — Lenny Kravitz, The Jacksons, Johnny Gill, Sinbad, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Eddie Griffin and Jamie Foxx, among them. That was followed by a couple of cookbooks: “Champagne and Collard Greens” and “Beauty and the Feast.”

Eventually, she turned her attention to baking because doing catering gigs for 150+ plus people was wearing her down. That’s when she started her own gourmet cookie company, The Powder Puff Cookie Shop, which also attracted a number of high-end and celebrity clients — everybody from Uncle Luke from 2 Live Crew to 50 Cent.

THE NEXT CHAPTER

As we all know, the marijuana business is bustling. Many people and many companies are investing their resources into various types of cannabis businesses as more states legalize for recreational use.

For Maxi B., being one of the Mary Jane Girls and having a successful baking business seemed to line up perfectly. That’s how Sweet Mary Jane’s by Maxi B. was born.

But the whole thing didn’t take shape until she met Bonita Money, a big influencer in the industry. She works with artists like Chief Keef, M80 and Waka Flocka Flame on developing successful cannabis-related businesses from their brands.

She’s the one who helped Maxi B. understand her potential in the cannabis game. Through her company, Women Abuv Ground, she helps entrepreneurs maximize their opportunities in the cannabis industry. Particularly women.

“My friends were telling me about her for the longest,” Maxi B. says. “Once I met her, I got to understand everything.”

That’s when she learned about things like CBD and how cannabinoids can help fight cancer.

“I’m not really into the doctor thing,” Maxi B. says. “The pills, we’ve got a terrible problem with opioids. You can eat my cookies to help your pain and not kill your liver. Coming from Rick James, I know all about drug addictions. I know how devastating it can be, not only for one person but for their families too.”

That’s only part of her plan, though. She’s also an animal lover and is developing a line of dog biscuits and peanut butter cookies aimed at helping animals in pain.

Music isn’t all in the past either. She and Cheri Wells perform regularly as “The Original Mary Jane Girls, Maxi and Cheri.” That has them playing at festivals and old-school concerts all year long. Life is busy. Her old life has now combined with her new life and Maxi B. is loving every minute.

“It’s finally come full circle,” Maxi B. says. “Rick James was a very hardcore advocate for marijuana. I, in his honor, want to continue the legacy. It really has come full circle.”

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