Duana, Kathleen, and I, along with a few other friends, are going to see Ms Lauryn Hill tonight. It’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th anniversary tour. And she’s playing here in Toronto on the Budweiser Stage, which is an amphitheatre. It’s a perfect summer day. The heat wave has lifted. Also, the amphitheatre has a sound curfew of 11pm, strictly observed. So the bonus to that, where Ms Lauryn Hill is concerned, is that ...there may be a limit to her lateness?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Ms Lauryn Hill the last few days ahead of the show, thinking about her differently now, as we’re all going through a process of unlearning and interrogating our perspectives after what we’ve been compelled to confront over the last few years about misogyny and inequality. Ms Hill and Wyclef Jean had a tumultuous relationship, personally and professionally. They were lovers and collaborators but it was Wyclef who was widely credited as being the “genius” member the Fugees. It was Wyclef who TOOK the credit for being the “genius” member of the Fugees. When Wyclef was working on his own sh-t, Ms Hill and Pras were expected to help out. And when she wanted to do the same? The reciprocal support never came. There are a lot of people, including Pras, who believe that Wyclef f-cked with her, emotionally and creatively. Which is why she was so insistent on getting that credit on The Miseducation album – almost to her own detriment. Ms Hill was obsessively determined when she was making The Miseducation…because she wanted to prove that she could do it without him. Because, allegedly, he tried to make her think she couldn’t do it without him.
Back then, they said she was unreasonable, they called her difficult. But is it possible that everything that’s happened since then can be traced back to that experience? She was SO young. She was in love. She was in unhealthy competition – with her lover, friend, rival. How many times throughout history have we seen an equally – or more – talented female artist undermined by the man in her life? What is the weight of all the art that has been overlooked or even lost? When you think about it that way, maybe waiting three hours for Ms Lauryn Hill, if that’s what it’s going to be, isn’t really that bad?
Yours in gossip,