My infatuation with Lauryn Hill began in the late mid nineties. Not so much because of her music, but because of my fascination with her role in Sister Act II. I loved her voice, her acting, and what her character, Rita Louise Watson (said in her momma’s voice), represented in the movie. It wasn’t until my young adult days that I began to listen to and follow Ms. Lauryn Hill. Her music spoke to me in so many different ways. I had Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on replay for months; to the point that my CD was no longer readable and had to be replaced (which my brothers still tease me about). Shortly after, I began to watch YouTube videos of her speeches and performances from the unplugged album.The words that came from her moved me from infatuation to genuine love. The kingdom truth that she spoke. The conviction that she spoke it with, the authenticity of her personality. I was in love with what she represented. I began to admire her as one of the most amazing artists that I had ever witnessed. From her soulfully melodic voice to her articulate rhymes, I was in awe of her talent.
It’s widely known that Ms. Hill went through a period of time where people thought she was crazy. From her outfit on her unplugged album to her desire to be removed from the public eye; it was clear that she was in a place of growth and transformation. For some reason, I connected with that place. Now, on February 17th 2014, at my second Lauryn Hill concert, my love for her does nothing but grow. She stepped on stage with a long sleeve sequined shirt, wide pants and a blue winter vest accented by her short natural hair. She was beautiful; mostly because she was herself. And in all of her femininity, she transitioned from singing to spitting flawlessly and no less intensity. It was as if no time had elapsed since her 90’s reign and at the same time, it was obvious that time had done nothing but give her more reason to beast.
Most of all, Lauryn Hill gives me an image of a beautiful, strong, resilient revolutionary. Standing at her concert last night, there were moments where I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. She evokes certain emotions with her voice. Speaks to my soul. Shows me what happens when you say yes to who you are. For the past few months, I’ve been struggling with who I am. Struggling with who I believe God created me to be. All of the times that I’ve said no, have left me in a place of deeper confusion and frustration.
She said yes.
And her music speaks to generations of broken spirits. She speaks against injustice and systematic corruption that we often attribute to the normality of life. Her songs speak of love and self reflection. Self improvement for the betterment of society. Her words are deep and her messages have layers. Songs like “Guarding my Gates” and “Peace of Mind” are songs that can penetrate the spirit if you allow it to. If sung with intent and relationship with God, they give a new face to worship. I’m not only moved by her concert last night, I’m inspired to say yes to who I am. Yes to what I can offer the world. Yes to the things that may scare me.Yes to those ideas that appear REALLY REALLY crazy. Yes to painting the world with a completely different color than any of those seen in the world (shout out to Kristin). Since last night, I’ve been swimming in a body of beauty created by the sound of Lauryn Hill’s resilience and creation. Head swaying, eyes closed, lost in time type of swimming.
While performing recently, Lauryn said “The creator is the best. Our goal is to link up with the creator and give Him honor and praise in everything that we do. To make ourselves an open channel so that we can be a frequency of the best and the highest order.” I can’t imagine what life would look like if Ms. Lauryn Hill would have said no; but i’m so glad
that she said yes.