By then, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” had been out for 2 years, so needless to say, my journal was filled with rhymes that I just knew L-boogie would approve of.
See, I was young, but way ahead of my time:
She was fly, a words smith, and a tom girl, with talent that was ridiculously unmatched. She was confident.
I was shy, misunderstood, with a love for music that I couldn’t understand, and wanted to be just like her.
When I looked at them, I saw myself, and that alone was a blessing.
With Hill, in particular, it never once occurred to me that she would get older, go through her own personal trials and tribulations, or even disappear. I was so captivated by her lyrics, words, and musical capabilities that I never once thought about what she was supposed to do or be next.
I never really expected anything else from her, to be honest, besides what she had already given me.
I was also around 10 years old, so there’s that, but still.
Til today, I can say that I’m very much content.
How many artists can release an album, today, that you will still want to listen to, dissect, and understand 18 years later?
There’s a reason why I have yet to see Ms. Hill perform in the 2000’s, or why I’m not wondering when her next album is coming out:
For one, I could listen to The Miseducation until 2000 and forever, and with over 18 years between what has inspired such a masterpiece and what is now life, I can't imagine or even expect her to be the same person she was when she created it.
For two, When I heard “I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind” or even "I Get Out" I knew that the Lauryn that gave us “Doo Wop That Thing” was probably in a different place and wasn’t coming back, but I was cool with that.
I think, as a society, we have such unrealistic expectations of artists (and people in general) which causes us to not appreciate them for who they are and what they’ve done, regardless of the mistakes they’ve made, or are still making.
We put them on these pedestals, and dare them to step down, or ruin our perfect perception of who we think they’re supposed to be.
Worse, we have this idea that they’re always supposed to belong to us.
Now, I’m not saying this excuses L-boogie from being tardy for shows, or serves as the reason why some people shouldn’t be upset, but what I am saying is that those things will never erase who and what I’ve known her to be for both my childhood and the culture.
Hands down, Lauryn Hill helped to shape my definition of beauty, womanhood, and independence, along with my mother and many other women I was privy to witness.
For that, I will always, always love her.
If I ever do get to see her in concert, I’ll be sure to bring a good book to read, and maybe some popcorn, but otherwise, I’m pretty good, where I am.
I’ve learned what I needed to learn from Ms. Hill; anything else is just a bonus.