A few years ago someone offered me tickets to see Lauryn Hill. I’m pretty sure I could have figured out how to make the tickets, my life and my wallet all mesh if I tried, but I politely declined the offer and went about my way.
Looking back, it occurs to me that I should have explained that I’d read, heard from friends in the industry and read some more about how erratic her performances were and how late they started. But you know how it is, sometimes you just don’t feel like puttin all that bad energy out there, so you keep it movin.
A few days ago, when folks went in on Ms. Hill about showing up late to a show in Atlanta, I was reminded of my “nah on them tickets” decision all over again. Not for nothing, it’s not for me to throw shade at artists I’ve never had reason to dislike, but I also tend to overthink things and have always felt like it might not be the best time for me to see L. Boogie perform. You know what I mean? If she isn’t well, maybe this isn’t the version of her I need to witness. But even still, my body and feet can’t take waiting and standing for hours for shows anymore, so I would of been heated too.
In the wake of all this, I’ve read two things that speak to the issues quite nicely. One was the following statement given to Okayplayer by Questlove (drummer for The Roots).
“There is this glorious fantasy going on in our heads. It’s like a movie and you imagine folks cheering your name like the end of Purple Rain (“Lauryn!! Lauryn!! Lauryn!!!!!!!”) and movies make you feel like “that’s how life should be” (this should also apply to the “can I audition for you on the spot? And you just clap your hands and make me a star right quick?” crew: what you see on movies ain’t real. Entourage is not REAL)
So with this in mind you HAVE to think like a businessman in order to please the fan (the aforementioned alias celebs here call me “Suit” like Billy from Entourage as if “I’ve lost touch with the people”)
Every aspect from walk in music (Mike D told me to DJ before the shows to engage fans—boring walk in music makes em tired, DJ trine kill it could dwarf the show and steal the ounce of energy a standing on their feet audience has) to the pacing of the show has to be combed over.
4 hours on their feet is inconsiderate and uncalled for.
Now on the other side of the coin (and not wanting to put people’s business out there) this is prime psychological sabotage fear in motion. This is the embarrassment of that Newark 4 lawsuit. This is age fear talking loud and clear. This is resentment of having to now do this to survive (I mean we all “do it for the love”—but this is survival) the embarrassment of now being a one album legacy artist and the possibility of not mattering anymore in this disposable society. People will kill something before it grows.
This is prime example of that.”
and the other is a poem by our resident giver of advice, Bolly. We feel like he pretty much sums it up like a boss. You may send all comments and concerns to him directly at email@example.com
a poem for #LaurynHill and fans – #askbolly
she ain’t coming to her show on time
she ain’t singing her whole album technically her only album
if she sings one of her hits don’t expect it to sound exactly like the hit she ain’t doing that either
she ain’t messed up about being booed she heard it before
she ain’t with The Fugees she ain’t celebrating those Grammy’s
she ain’t living in the past she prolly just having fun and paying her bills
she ain’t who she was she just who she is
and we ain’t the same either
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org