L-Boogied Out

By now you’ve all probably heard about Lauryn Hill’s poorly reviewed concert in Oakland this past weekend. One of my best friends in the world, Lauren, drove from Modesto to Oakland for the show and called me on Sunday to break it down. And it was a long and depressing conversation, y’all.

Let me begin with a bit of back story. Back in 1998 — almost ten years ago, as hard as THAT is to believe, Lauren and I were freshmen at the University of Miami, hanging out with the same fabulously crazy bunch of chicks. We went with a big group of people to the Bob Marley Festival, an annual local event that has had a controversial history — click here to read an unfortunately uncomfortable interview yours truly had with Damian Marley about the fest.

Back in the day, the festival was just legendary. That year, Erykah Badu, the Marleys, and Lauryn Hill all graced the stage, but Lauryn stole the show. Miseducation had just dropped — long enough for all of us to know the words, but it was still a new album. And she just ripped it on stage, sang her heart out, and brought tears to my eyes. Everything is Everything. Lost Ones. Ex-Factor. She was killing us softly. She brought out Zion on stage when she sang To Zion — he was just a little baby, then. To this day, that experience ranks among my top five concert experiences of all time. And my girl Lauren was right there, feeling the spirit with me.

Flash forward, nine years hence. Lauren agreed with this SF Gate concert review for the most part, she says “the band was way too loud, feedback was horrible, there was screeching.” She also told me that the boos from the audience were audible and embarrassing, and crowds of people left to request refunds. But she says the second half of the show was better, and the die-hard fans stuck around till the end in the hopes that Lauryn Hill would turn it all around. This brief video clip reveals that she got her voice under control, but it’s clear to me that Lauryn Hill is still struggling to get herself together.

Lauryn, we feel you. We know you’re not a caricature. We’re not frightened of an articulate, intelligent, spiritual woman. We applaud and celebrate your newfound strength and core of artistic integrity. But for the price of a concert ticket, we want the kind of professional, skilled, awe-inspiring performance we’ve seen you do in years past. We all know you have it in you. We’re just waiting for you to remind us.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. I really hope that she can make a comeback. The Miseducation was a remarkable album.

    http://blackstylecentral.blogspot.com

  2. byrdparker says:

    people change and evolve , this is something she has to go through or she would not be going through it . Her antics are legendary in certain circles . She is lauryn , and perhaps she cannot handle fame the way others do , or perhaps she can just not be bothered. What ever it is i wish her peace and happiness , i will always remember the fugees and miseducation , and am glad that she was able to share that with the world!

  3. that’s sad…..her time has come and gone i guess :(

  4. MochaSiren says:

    I too loved “Miseducation” and just knew that Lauryn was to be the “bright star” of the industry. I, along with everyone else have read about the sporadic “trainwreck” performances of the last decade. I’ve come to one conclusion about Lauryn…No matter how spiritual or talented she may be, I truly believe she suffers from sort of mental illness (possibly bipolar disorder?) that has not been addressed or treated. Have any of you bellas come to this conclusion as well? I am really praying for Lauryn and her family.

  5. jerseybred says:

    Lauryn will come back strong, check out her Unplugged album its hot!!!

  6. L’Boogie,
    is one of my favorite artist and I listen to “Miseducation” all the time…her voice was so powerful and full of life back then. I hope she can turn things around and come back fiercer, than I could ever imagine. From viewing the clip you provided, if I had attended the concert I might not be a happy camper either. L’Boogie, if your reading this….bring back the funk, I know it’s in U……thanks for the post…..Bella:)

  7. there needs to be a handbook on how to avoid the pitfalls of fame.

  8. MochaSiren says:

    Jerseybred,

    I agree that “Unplugged” was hot mainly because Lauryn displayed such raw emotion. It’s funny too, because I’ve also talked to people that don’t like it for that very same reason. To each his/her own, I suppose. Again, “Unplugged” is a stellar CD.

  9. She looks like Oprah in that pic. I don’t think she will ever be the same.

  10. justbecuz says:

    The first problem is that everbody keeps looking for the 22 year old Lauryn. She doesn’t exist people. Lauryn has gone through some changes and has grown as a person an artist. I have watched Lauryn through all of these phases and I am telling you she is better than ever. Yes, her voice has deepened and doesn’t sound quite the same, but I think it is more powerful and beautiful than ever. I am more a fan of Laurn now than ever. Yes, Laurn needs to be more considerate of the audiences time, but make no mistake the talent is still there. Everybody looks at Lauryn as just a signer but she is also in full control of that band. Lauryn is all about improvisation. So, you will never hear her perform a song the same way twice. I know a lot of people are not use to the type of performances she puts on, and she may lose some fans. I think she is OK with that, but she will gain many more along the way. She is one of a kind, there is noone like her. Here is a performance from this concert. She sound great to me.

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=11649812

  11. I do love that Unplugged, y’all. “Just Like Water” is amazing, and so is “The Mystery of Iniquity.” I respect her growth as an artist, but I worry that the professional aspect of her performance is slipping away.

  12. justbecuz says:

    Also, how many of you are aware that Lauryn was in Brazil the week before and performed 4 sold out concerts. She caused a bit of a controversy while in this country with the second largest population of people of African decent in the world by requesting a Black interviewer. You must know that in this country there is a major cast system based on the color of you skin (how dark you are). The majority of Blacks live in extreme poverty. So, I ask you while everybody is condemning Lauryn for being herself whoelse is making these silent stands for righteousness without look for TV camera to make sure its documented. She did the same at the Vatican and went silently back to her life. I know you had her as one of you Afrobellas of the week and I applaud you for that, but let not tear this sister down when she is trying so hard to build us up.

  13. justbecuz, I heard nothing about the Brazilian interview controversy — off to research an article on that. I love, love, love Lauryn. I always will. I see her as our hip hop Nina Simone. I also read all of the many, many negative reviews of her latest performances and I tried to temper this post with that love. I haven’t seen her perform myself, but I do believe what my girl Lauren told me. I’m not sure I’d be thrilled after paying full price for a ticket and having to wait two and a half hours, but I must say, her version of Lose Myself was stately and beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  14. ya, I will always love Lauryn. That was the third time I’ve seen her in concert, the first time was the Fugees, then the Marley concert and now this one. I agree with ‘just becuz’ that she has changed and grown and that is what a lot of people in the audience did not understand, they just wanted to hear her sing “killing me softly” like she was 20 again. Her fans have to respect that she has changed and is not always just going to sing her usual 7 or 8 songs from Miseducation exactly as they were on the album.(isn’t that why Lily Allen cancelled her concerts?)Lauryn did tell us that her voice was a little raspy and apologized for it, and I truly believe that she will come back with a sic album. I just think she had an off night in Oakland, which was mostly due to the band drowning out her voice and the constant microphone screeching every time she walked by a certain part of the stage. The second hour of the concert was a lot better, like the lost ones video on myspace shows, and her true fans know that she will come back bigger and better than before. Like she said in her speech she made halfway through the concert, ” I can’t fit into a stereotype that makes me comfortable for you, if that makes me feel uncomfortable to you, I need to find some new company.” Thanks for tha post Bella, I know u got as much luv for her as I do.

  15. justbecuz says:

    Here is one article about her visit to Brazil:
    (Sorry about the translation)

    Original article: http://realistasnpn.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!F09F001C989BB5B!701.entry

    Lauryn Hill asks for to give interview alone for Negr@s
    The American singer Lauryn Hill arrives in the next days for some presentations. Two a few days ago Ancelmo Goals, of the periodical the Globe, notified that the beautiful singer, to grant to interview to the Net Globe of television, requested that its interviewer was black. What the sender, in optimum style Ali Kamel of being, answered that contracts for ability criteria, such and such and that do not tolerate practical racists.

    Good, very very interesting. She is always thus and thus she is. Cômoda is the famous situation where who is in situation of being able and of command it is not at any moment questioned of the reason not to have black people and of other origins in determined spaces.

    Now, under the argument of that we are all miscinegados (miscegenation this imposed by estrupro systematic of thousand of black women in the past), the fashion now capsized to say that they are the Brazilian blacks that are wanting to bring the hatred and the division for races for the country.

    However, my people, let us leave to the streets. Let us look at who are the men who recapeiam asfaltos, who is the burrinhos-without-tail of the great centers, the house servants and nurse aid. Let us enter in shoppings and let us see that sãos the attendants, the waiters in the bars chic; in the control positions; in the great press…

    We know very well what he is happening and to this if he gives the reaction name. The Brazilian blacks for the first time start to plead, without xororô, head low, a space that is its. E who is occupying this space does not go to want to yield it without quarrel. This is cerne of the problem. The remaining portion is balela and blábláblá.

    When Lauryn Hill asks for a black journalist to interview it it, without wanting and without knowing, it strengthens the question of the cartunista Maurício Eyelash that in the journalism vestibule “Communicates” spear: “where they are the blacks in its writing”. E all the ones that answer it go to the same say that it says the Globe, that says the Kamel, that say all the whites. That is, the blacks are not in these spaces because they had not formed themselves for such.

    However, however, however, if you he will only be black is that you he will understand as functions the almost invisible line that generates separations between blacks and whites in this country. Only being black to feel what it is a stock market to be pressed to its side, what she is a driver of taxi to ignore it, what it is the curiosity of the people in an airplane to know what voce makes of the life…

    The racial relations in Brazil are subtle, but let us not think that they are not there. They are yes. E proves of this is this debate that we are having now. Therefore the great problem of the country always was to play for escanteio its problems, instead of assumiz them, discutiz them and to decide them.

  16. The thing is, if she hadn’t kept disappearing to the general public it would have been easier to grow along with her. You make your famous CD, dip out, make an unplugged CD, dip out again, act like the Fugees are getting back together, scratch that, pop up intermittedly. It’s really easy to see why the non-hardcore fans don’t understand what she’s doing. I’m sure she went on a gradual journey to get where she is, but when we’ve only seen flashes of what she’s up to, yeah it comes across as odd.

    Besides all that, I hear way too much of her being late to ever be feeling Lauryn Hill like that. Damn all that 2 hours lateness. That’s just not cool.

  17. she needs to step away from the sensi and ‘spiritual advisors’ … detox bb . :(

  18. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Okay this is an artist I feel very passionate about, so I am going to type this straight from my heart exactly how I feel it. I have read just about all the reveiws there are to read about the Oakland concert and what amazes me is how much people who say they are fans of Lauryn’s don’t appreciate her for her same pure authenticity. I agree that she is grown up and more focused and solidified in who she is and what she values and believes in…but so am I so her phases haven’t caused me to doubt her ability as an artist one bit…I can not now or have I ever questioned her reasons for stepping away from Hip Hop–I understand the break completely, Lauryn may not have started the hip hop phenomenon, but she definitely kept it pure and brought it back to what it was always intended to be—a positive representation of an otherwised outcast and rejected people, a people she obviously loves very much, I wish I could say we ALL shared the same integrity and sentiment–she was the voice I wanted to hear, she was and still is an image of black and beautiful–I respect her for standing her ground the way she has…bipolar? Please, people don’t try to be deep here, Lauryn has had some obvious struggles being an artist and contending with an indusrty who wanted to shape her, and own her, with the amount of passion within her it doesn’t surpise me to see how she’s handled some of her transitions. Those struggles have not made her popular and she may not have handled her hiatus with the level of grace or diplomacy you may have wanted, but so what. That doesn’t make you a psychiatrist, so please stop with the bootleg diagnosis. Lauryn made me feel hip hop more than any other artist, so I don’t understand how people think you just loose that ability based upon a bad reveiw or because she slipped and fell on stage, had some sound difficulties etc., it’s like judging apples to oranges people..they simply don’t compare. The gift is in her, it came from the Almighty God and I personally don’t believe He’s taken that gift away from her, she’s lost some fans simply because they don’t appreciate the way she chooses to honor her gift. She’s not an industry whore like the many perpatrators who call themselves artists these days, and she isn’t looking for fair weather groupee fans. Your dollars and ticket purchases don’t make her or break her, and she stated that confidently, she’s proven it to, over the past decade, yet some people in the crowd interpreted her resolve as her having an attitude. She’s not going to sell sex or anything else the industry wants her to promote for them, she’s not a slave and she can’t be bought. She’s trying to keep the standards for our people and our women righteous, and again, I have nothing but the utmost admiration for her as an artist. I respect Lauryn for remaing an artist of integrity, not and artist who promotes an illusion of perfection that no one will ever reach outside the fabricated entertainment world of glitz and glamour. I respect Lauryn for blazing her own trail, hip hop hasn’t really left an opening for an artist like her, she won’t become the projection of the industry or of her “fans”, paying 100 dollars for a ticket won’t make her dance to your tune, like I stated earlier, your money and the tickets you purchased don’t define her– granted, I don’t feel she should have been two hours late, I still say aside from the technical set backs and the time factor, Lauryn tried to give people something as real as she knew how, she was true to form, even with some of the obvious changes (appearance and voice). Call it unprofessional, or disrespectful if you want to, but truly after seeing and reading all the reveiws of that concert, and comparing that with all the whinning about people wanting Lauryn back, I say LBoogie’s the one who was disrepected.

  19. It’s funny Afrobella, that you would compare her to Nina Simone, because I thought the same thing when I read your post. The girl is getting more eccentric by the hour, but there’s no denying her talent. However, I am truly concerned about how radical and extreme she might get. Is this truly who she is? Or is this her publicized inner turmoil to redefine herself. She does not need to preach to her fans, just show us who she has become. We’ll believe her. I believe that when people have preach about who they are and are not, they are trying to convince themselves also. I understand the pressures of Hollywood are intense and it’s difficult to follow-up such a highly-acclaimed pop album; but I’m scared for Lauryn. Will she ignore all of the voices around her (the Marleys and disgruntled fans)and rise like a star? Or will she retreat to a reclusive, exiled life like Nina? Gosh, I hope not!

  20. I co-sign JUSTMYWORDS.
    .
    .
    People, let’s not be too quick to tag someone crazy just based on what we hear instead of what we know. If you don’t know the girl, don’t judge her based on the press who master in selling LIES, or on a bad review. That chick is on tour every year all around the world and as if by chance the only reviews we hear are the few negative ones (even ones from the UK) which represent a real minority. In the hollywood universe when you don’t sell yourself, 9 times outta 10 the industry prepares a propaganda against you. Dave Chapelle suffered from the same thing. Pras said in the now famous Rolling Stones magazine that she was restructuring her life, but wasn’t crazy. Let’s not forget that she now has 5 children to raise so, I guess she got her priorities straight. Family first, music second.
    .
    .
    Another thing that validate what I believe to be a propaganda, if this chick was crazy, the UNPLUGGED wouldn’t make sense. Not only does it make sense, but the authenticity and rawness of the music and how she interacts with her fans make the album even better. Lyrically, it’s MUCH better than Miseducation, on a total ‘nother level. But the (paid) critics never mentionned her new level of lyrical genius and spent their time dissing the album when it came out. I should have known better than to believe them cause it took me 2 years to give it a listen (thanks to a relative), and I instantly bought it.
    .
    .
    Yes, she is an artist of integrity. She refused to be dictated what image to have, what mainstream movies to star in (she refused a LOT of offers from hollywood), all of that based on her convictions and desire to rep’ her people. I don’t care what magazines and people say, I will ALWAYS respect her!

  21. I definitely don’t think she’s crazy, I just think she’s a deep thinker who is on her own journey. Too often, we dismiss someone by calling them “crazy.” And what exactly IS crazy, anyway? There but for the grace of God go many of us, I think.

  22. AndSoThen says:

    I worked with Lauryn way back when and thought like another lovely sistah I know that she is bi polar. The sadness if that is we people do not acknowledge it in ourselves. We have such shame with mental illness in our culture. So many people are just bore this way and with meds can be pretty even thru out their lives. I could be wrong but she certainly had the signs of it and was at the right age for it to be prominent.
    Afrobella..another sistah we have lost along the way..you might not recall her, Lisa Nicole Carson, check out her history in acting, an amazing voice, beautiful girl. Crashed due to being bi polar. Jennifer Holiday has admitted it and speaks on it around the country. Black people, its mental illness, you are not crazy. Help ourselves.

  23. Every artist has the right to evolve and change. But performing half assed is unacceptable. I don’t care how many grammies you’ve won. Fans spend good money and DESERVE at least a decent show. Showing up hours late and not rehearsing to straigten out kinks is unprofessional and erodes your credibility as an artist.
    Criticism is not end of the world. Sometimes people need that communication. You can see the concert online. Let me tell you, it’s embarrassing. Unbelievable disaster! A highschooler with a decent voice could have put on a better concert. I could see why people demanded a refund.

  24. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Cheryl—

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Afrobella/Bella—

    Is it that she’s such a deep thinker who is on her own journey or is it that, most of us because of what we choose to accept or follow won’t go there with Lauryn? IMO, Lauryn doesn’t come off as a person who doesn’t want to be heard or understood…her isolation was from a completely different chain reaction, she’s never given any of us reason to think she’s trying to market her life or spirituality, there’s nothing psuedo about it because she keeps performing on her own terms and she’s saying I’m me and I’m NOT for sale… Lauryn wasn’t going to let people who claimed to be spiritual and be her fans, or an industry who claimed to respect her art sway her veiws…that doesn’t mean she’s ever stopped being an artist, and like Cheryl said her music STILL makes sense, I can definitely relate over and over again.

    I agree with Cheryl, her music is more relevant to me now than it was when I was 20 and listened to Miseducation, she’s not so deep she can’t be appreciated or understood, that kind of statement is said of people who are offering or looking for psuedo spirituality, Lauryn aint fake, she’s not going to pretend that she’s on a realm you have to know vodoo or have pixie dust and the magic word in order to relate or understand her, she trys to display life the way she see’s it and find stregnth in God to rise above it all. From her own confessions, she’s defintiely looking for Truth and she’s definitely trying to reach out, but like Ms. Hill said at her Oakland concert, if what she expresses and portrays isn’t respected by the majority, she’s fine looking for new company.

    I was in shock when I heard what she said and then listened to all the negative reveiws that misconstrued her words. I couldn’t see how these people actually considered themselves fans of any sort, I couldn’t help but start asking myself—what was it they actually loved about Lauryn in the first place, with fans like these you don’t need enemies!?—was it just her creative style and popularity 10 years ago that people praised? That’s pretty shallow if you ask me, don’t get me wrong I loved her young and fresh style, but the message is what blew me away and still does, so when I listen to the reviews I can’t help but measure it against the mentality of today, and judging by what I know to be true of mainstream concepts, I consider the source, and lay many questions or comments to rest. I’m all about being a well versed, objective independant thinker, and even if my friends were to eloquently convey something to me about an issue, I’m a skeptic by nature, so I have to research something to my own level of satisfaction, and I try to weigh all sides of an argument before stating my peice.

    I think it’s sad that people are so quick to talk about the negatives of that performance and willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. She had a bad night with technical difficulties and tardiness, why publicize that to the point of letting her mishap overshadow her incredible talent and gift? Again, I found myself in question of the motives and inentions of people that do that so readily, especially after most of them, I’m sure were the LOUDEST VOICES on that band wagon, professing how much they wanted LH to come back out of her self proclaimed exile…so typical and so CORNY…The comedy of errors of that Oakland performace has nothing to do with her relevance as an artist, it’s simply ridiculous to me that people would relate the two. And then to question her sanity, because of the Marley’s or any other reason, I’m not saying I completely like the personal choices Lauryn has made with her relationship or significant other, but from my limited veiw point of her private life and decisions, to comment on that would only be heresay and I don’t get off on that kind of buzz, I really try to base things off of what people show me, not what I heard, that is her PRIVATE LIFE, and I’m not under some fanatical illusion of presumed familiararity where I’d even begin to entertain the notion of me knowing exactly what’s going with her as an individual–this aint Misery or the crush, SO IF THE REST OF YOU ALL ARE IN IT THAT DEEP, maybe, just maybe…YOU NEED TO CHECK YOURSELF. Her life as an artist is what she has readily shared and that is what gives me a glimpse of the soul that she has, and what I’ve seen and heard has always been an inspiration to me on that front… I appreciate her artistic integrity, simply put…I’m not able to judge her private life, but I hope and pray that Lauryn finds in God the balance and stregnth she needs to remain so gifted and to rid her of anything that even remotely threatens or hinders her talent and purpose, because I truly appreciate the quality of her gift–I hear people’s concerns in them making mention of her private life and relationships, and I don’t want to see her gift wasted either ya’ll, but I still think we need to be careful not to so easily turn the rumor mill because of our fears, skeptisim, or disappointments. The only thing crazy about Lauryn that I have witnessed, is her crazy sense of stregnth and confidence to defy the norm and go against mainstream, this is similar to what I was saying in that old blog Afrobella did about Russell Simmons–how some people aren’t like Russell,( who clearly displays and endorses the sentiments of an opportunist, not an artist). Lauryn is the exact opposite to that, she’s not in it for the money, she can’t be bought and she obviously cares about herself and others because she is very aware of the image she presents to people, she won’t embrace a derogatory veiw of herself or her people—THANK YOU LAURYN FOR THAT!!! It’s a breath of fresh air to a sista like myself, because I feel her on that,and so often I’m isolated from my own folks, AND NOT because I don’t love my black sisters, quite the contrary, more often it’s because they do not know how to love themselves. They will embrace social norms, values or stigmas that I choose not to and take my resistance to stereotypes or veiws as me being stuck up just because I dare to be different…usually instead of them accepting me for my strong convictions and love for my people, that I only inflict upon myself in the way I strive to live my life for God and Christ— they accuse me of judging them and acting like I’m better than them, when in fact that’s what they are doing to me. That hurts, but it makes you more determined to stregnthen your voice, in the hopes someone, anyone will hear and understand. Yes that makes you seem like you’re on your own journey, because the people who relate are few and far between, and a lot of folks will abandone you, but that definitley doesn’t mean it’s your fault when you are standing for what is right and that definitely doesn’t mean you want it that way. Lauryn’s strength encouraged me to be myself and not care about those who slandered my intentions. I will ALWAYS have CRAZY respect for her as an artist…sad that when a black woman stands up and represents no one takes notice and no one backs her up…so often we’re so ignored and downplayed for our true worth and beauty, and we too readily become a product of that rejection and loose ourselves and our sisterhood in the process, so it hurt me to hear that Lauryn wasn’t embraced for the jewel she still is…I see things as us (black women) being in this together…and for people to jump ship so quickly, came as a huge surprise, but maybe that’s just me cuz I know I am a true lover of real artistic expression, so wherever I see it, I appreciate it no matter what. I’ve said it before on this site, but I’ll say it again, the hardest thing for an artist is to accept the risk that after you pour your soul into something and give it your all that people just will not relate…but it teaches you how to give and whom to give it to, and that’s what I pray Lauryn is learning, she learned NOT to give a thing to the industry, they would’ve only raped her of her worth, and she might of gone triple platinum and been millions of dollars richer, but at the end of the day she’d just be a high paid slave…so when an artist decides to reject mainstream veiws and people don’t understand that’s not always the artist’s fault, and in Lauryn’s case I understand the stand she’s making and the criticism she’s taking for it and it makes her that much better to me as an artist, she’s not perfect, that’s never been her gimmick, she doesn’t have one and I love her music for that reason and for that I always will.

    Afrobella, as always thanks for providing the outlet you do, I don’t agree with you on this one, but I respect you for your courage to speak your mind!

  25. dang @ justmyword!!! you are one passionate sista!! :)
    If what Andsothen says is true about Lauryn being bipolar then that would really explain a LOT of things.

  26. MochaSiren says:

    AndSoThen,

    Thank you. After I made my comment that Lauryn could possibly be bipolar, I bracing for the comments that would ensue. I was quite frustrated until I read your first post. I totally agree with you that mental illness has a big stigma in the black community which is why many of us immediately get defensive about it. Some of the most creative, talented people in this world have suffered and do continue to suffer from this condition. Strangely, these conditions sometimes even seem to somehow “enhance” the brillance. One fellow commenter mentioned that “bootleg diagnosis” shouldn’t be made. I am NOT a medical doctor. However, I do know VERY WELL people who suffer from this disorder. Seeing what they’ve experienced and how it affects them and the people in their lives makes me draw the conclusion that it could be a POSSIBILITY with Lauryn. In my opinion, stereotyping people with the derogatory label of “crazy” is a “miseducation” in which we all should be mindful not to continue to do.

  27. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Well MochaSiren-

    I have to appreciate your experiences, but my comments stemmed from my own, I wasn’t just pulling thoughts out of the air, and it seems to me that people are a little too hasty to label people with things before really knowing what’s going on with them…my tolerance for that is very, very low, so I apologize…I’ve taught and dealt with teens whose parents were afraid they may have one disorder or another because their children were different in the way they expressed themselves and learned, and before these kids could figure anything out about how they felt or what they wanted to say, people are shoving prescriptions at them and scrutinizing their every mood swing–that’s so unfair, and that hastiness to label a child with some sort of disorder or mental illness, is just as much a product of fear and intolerance as the instances you’ve seen when people are shunning the topic of mental illness all together—I’ve seen how this type of “labeling” affects people, young and old, in regards to their confidence and overall self expression, even with counseling and education about these conditions, so yes I’m defensive when it comes to labeling anyone, even an adult in this case, because, from my experiences people are sometimes lazy about it, and expect the label itself to be the solution or balm to a persons inner needs and struggles. Everything becomes an extension of the illness itself instead of the other way around. I just don’t like when I see people being “boxed in” and I realize there are actual accounts when people really do need medical attention due to a mental illness, and in those cases I would hope a person and their loved ones would have the courage to face the facts of a situation and be open to receiving help from doctors, counselours, ministers and the like. I am not afraid of that, but I have seen people go buck wild labeling people because they are afraid of what they don’t understand, and that makes me very uneasy, because some of the most creative, intelligent and expressive minds are overlooked and misread by others who simply can’t realte, or who just don’t have the patience to let others find their self expression. So I am against that, I’ve seen how that stiffles people’s creativity, and although I’m not saying all expression is for the public to see and understand, because it simply is not, I am saying that sometimes we just need to work through our thoughts and emotions so we can grab the core of what we want to say to others, and offer that to the world— I never called Lauryn crazy, I was responding to a comment made by Afrobella when she stated she didn’t feel like Lauryn was crazy—in my original response I used the same term you did, bi polar…so again, it’s not that I’m afraid of the term…I just don’t feel people should be so quick to diagnos someone from concern alone and without actual concrete reason to back those concerns.

  28. MochaSiren says:

    JUstMYWOrD,

    I totally respect your point and I regret that logistically we all couldn’t have this important conversation face to face as written words can so easily be misinterpreted.
    I also agree with you about the issues with labeling children or anyone. My twin sis teaches in public schools and it’s a big problem. Some of the kids are on kinds of meds and you wonder is it really all necessary.
    When I mentioned the “crazy” thing I didn’t mean you said it. I was actually responding to the fact that “we” meaning all of us at times have been quick to call someone who’s mentally ill “crazy”. I don’t think this word should be just thrown about. I don’t feel this word should ever be synonmous with a person’s specific problem IF they have one.
    I have spoken my peace on the subject. I really do appreciate what you have said. Your points are VERY valid and it helps me see a different perspective.

  29. Megan – thanks for saying that she looked like Oprah… I was thinking it but didn’t know if I should say it.

    As far as Lauryn coming back. There is no doubt that as an artist she has created tremendous music. I’d be hard-pressed to find somone that didn’t love her ‘miseducation’ cd. It was and is a classic. And even if the fugees reunion is fizzling, at least we got the one song out of it – ‘Take It Easy’… which was a banger if ever I heard one. I have the same faith in Lauryn’s comeback as I do with any other artist. I believe they can do it, and until that music comes out and is either great or lacking, there’s no reason to think otherwise.

  30. Grateful1 says:

    I don’t expect Lauryn to be the same person she was at 22; I would be very disappointed if she was. That said, when I buy a ticket to a concert, I expect the artist to show up on time and be professional. Have we come to the point when an artist can show up whenever and the audience dare not complain because that person is considered a genius? No thanks, not even for her. If she doesn’t want to perform, no one can force her to do it. But it’s extremely disrespectful to herself and her audience to come unprepared. We all have our personal issues to contend with, and the pressure on her is something I can’t even begin to understand, but that’s no excuse to abuse the people that support you. I think she’s being very self-destructive, but not “crazy”. I hate that term. It’s used far too casually to dismiss people who don’t think or act the way we think they should. I’m a huge fan of Lauryn since the “Nappy Heads” days. No one can deny that she has tremendous intelligence and creativity and nothing will ever diminish her contributions to hip-hop. “Miseducation” was absolutely brilliant and will always stand as one of the most innovative and original albums to come out during the 90s and, during this period of cloned, non-tune carrying, barely-clothed, so-called singers, she is sorely missed.

    As an artist myself, I’ll always advocate for artistic freedom and self-expression, but sometimes you have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. I don’t know any more about her mental state than anyone else here and I’m not a psychiatrist either so this is just my opinion: If a member of my family was making all kinds of decisions that didn’t seem to be in his/her best interest or doing things like showing up 2 hours late for work then falling down all over the place once they got there, I would be concerned and asking them if they needed help, not chalking it up to them being too deep for me to understand. I call things like I see them and it doesn’t look like she’s doing very well right now. I’m not speaking of anyone who posted and I don’t want it to be interpreted that way, but a large segment of our community has a “head in the sand” approach to mental illness, and I suspect that even if she clearly needed help, many of us would still turn a blind eye and try to attribute her behavior to something else. I’m not saying that Lauryn has mental problems or a disorder of any kind; I don’t know. I truly hope everything works out for her. However, we shouldn’t pretend that enormous talent and mental illness are mutually exclusive.

  31. flygyrl72 says:

    Crazy/not crazy, bi-polar, tri-polar, don’t matter. I LOVE me some Lauryn Hill. She is one of my boho Black gyrl icons. Because of her, I got the balls to go natural & still feel beautiful even w/ all the negative comments I got at the time. I know she’s going thru some things lately, but I really think, that ultimately, she’s really just trying to figure out how to maintain her artistic & personal integrity while at the same time being fan-friendly. As we can all see, that ain’t easy to do, especially if you have a lot of strong views on how things should go. Also, I think because she feels she got totally led around/exploited during the era of the Fugees/Miseducation, that she’s so sensitive to being “controlled” or told what to do by anyone, that she’s not listening to even the people who are knowledgeable & have her best interests in mind. But I have faith in her, I truly believe she’ll come around…or the world will…

  32. Ami Jane says:

    I like Lauryn Hill too. She is Brilliant and definitely one of the best. BUT… She owes it to her fans to get to concerts ON TIME and give them the best show possible. I have heard about her being late and cancelling out on shows too many times. I respect her genious but, I don’t respect her work ethic. If she doesn’t want to perform or if she is having some mental issues, maybe she should reach out and get some help from God, family, friends. Maybe, she should lay low on the performances and just create studio albums. She has cancelled from 2 shows here in Las Vegas twice in the past 4 months . People were waiting for hours before they were told they were not coming. Right now I wouldn’t even waist my time or money to see her perform. Her track record is too blemished right now. I would have to see major improvement before I restore my faith in her performing abilities. And, I would have to hear some new and refreshing material. I’m not willing to accept subpar entertainment from her, while knowing she can do better.

  33. JUstMYwOrD says:

    MochaSiren–

    I appreciate your veiws as well, thanks for clarifying. I am almost ready to lay this converstaion to rest myself, because I can see it’s struck a very passionate nerve in me, and I could honestly go on for days…but I won’t. Sorry again for my noticeable aggrevation to the whole mental illness topic, I could have tailored my repsonse with diplomacy, and I should have, because your veiws are just as relevant as mine.

    Grateful1–
    “Have we come to the point when an artist can show up whenever and the audience dare not complain because that person is considered a genius?”

    I know this question wasn’t directed towards me, but it’s a very good point, so I’ll say my peice on this and then I’m done:

    No. We should not be at the point where we drop our standards as to the quality of performance we expect from an artist…we should realize that to err is human, and I think knowing where to draw the line in the sand between error and unprofessionalism is what seems to have bothered me most about the “criticism” she received. I just don’t understand how Lauryn’s fans could be so quick to literally drop her, that’s more than just a complaint, the reveiws I read were very extreem and harsh, people began making all types of references to her mental stability, accusing her of being drunk, saying she’s a puppet under the spell of Marley mojo, etc…IMO,it was almost like all the buzz over her exile and come back was anticipated with such skeptisim that people were more eagerly waiting to prove she was washed up…than to prove she wasn’t…That kind of reveiw is not one I’d expect to be from a fan’s perspective…I just thought out of concern and appreciation for Lauryn fans would have chosen their words and critiqued her more carefully and constructively, that’s all. I was disappointed to read most of what I read about Oakland, and not because I felt Lauryn didn’t deserve some criticism I read about, because she did…like the tardiness factor…but I think we can all agree that it is clear Lauryn has been battling something, I won’t pretend to know what that is exactly, and I have to say I would have been very bothered about the rocky start but conflicted as well because she really is a tremendous artist, so I think I would’ve felt more prone to have given her a chance to get into gear because I realize that no one, including performers, are perfect.

  34. .
    .
    LMAO @ “tri-polar”, flygyrl you are silly lol.
    .
    .
    @ JUSTMYWORD, I feel ya on everything you wrote, and especially on people fearing what’s different. We pretty much think alike. I’m an independent thinker and out of the box and most folks can’t handle it if you don’t think, express yourself, or act like “the masses”. But I’m becoming cool with that. Like L-Boogie said, I’d rather be the “real me” than some fake “somebody else”.

  35. NOT Bipolar says:

    I’ve gotta come out of lurkmode for this one.

    As, someone, who is mislabelled by family members as “bipolar”, it pisses me off to see another creative person being labelled the same way. I’m a marginal fan of Lauryn, but from what I observe from her, she’s very similar to myself, in that she always grasps for authentic expression. Authentic expression is determined by mood, which may seem like an instability to other people who live inauthetically. C’mon, to those of you citing her behavior as “unprofessional”, what is “professional?” Is “professional” fake????…attempting to maintain a standard, even if you’ve outgrown it? Take Beyonce for example. This girl is professional and completely faux, mechanical, and emotionless. Is that what you want Lauryn to be?? You can’t have it both ways.

  36. justbecuz says:

    I don’t know why people spend so much time on speculating about Lauryns mental health. She has said many time she was depressed she even states it in her new song “Lose Myself”. If you look at the close up of Lauryns face in the following video clip she is still as beautiful as ever and that magnetic smile has return that was abscent for so many year.

  37. justbecuz says:

    The performance I posted is June 14, 2007 in San Paulo, Brazil.

  38. i am disappointed by lauren hill’s current state. she appears to be working against her own self interests in regards to her career, and she doesn’t seem to be completely lucid half of the time. I (and i mean me, myself, and i…no one has to like my thoughts or agree with them, they are not up for debate) simply refuse to support an artist that carries themselves in that way. i personally think that she needs MORE TIME to get herself together, because her current work/ performances are chipping away at her wonderful legacy of being a distinct and POWERFUL performer. nobody would have EVER BEEN ABLE TO QUESTION lauryn hill’s skills on a myriad of fronts a few years ago, and now that is what quite a few people do, with good reason… she still has her raw talent and magnetism, which means deep down i will always root for her…but she’s got some work to do before i can truly throw my support behind her again.

  39. skepticalandconcerned says:

    money is hard to come by,….
    and for any artist to think it is okay to consistently show up to performances tardy, is not cool,..
    a level of professionalism is mandatory at all costs,..
    there aren’t many artists out there that deserve the fan loyalty, and have anything to listen to for two hours, (jill scott, erykah badu, common, the roots,…) are a few of the exceptions,….
    and i am sure they have their personal issues to deal with,.. but they have not made a reputation of being sloppy at their concerts,…

    i have deep respect for lauren, and all, but
    this lauryn before us, seems very forced,…

    i don’t want perfection …there is no such thing,….
    but i agree with sloan,,.in that perhaps she needs to cocoon a little longer, heal,..(which we all need to do it from time to time,)and be mindful of her fans,…
    i realized awhile back, not to idealize anyone

  40. Its kind of sad what fame does to people. I think Hill will comeback though.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] which is why I choose to remember her, “the way she was,” rather than letting her recent mis-steps sully my entire [...]

Speak Your Mind

*