After getting attacked on social media for her constant lateness for performance coming to a boil this week after appearing 3 hours late for a Chastain Park performance in Atlanta. {In Which she was only allowed to sing for 30 minutes before the park promptly cut off her mic} Lauryn Hill was forced to make a statement, and I know its going to sound like bullshyt to many of you, but I’d like you to hear her out then read my closing words with an open heart.

I don’t show up late to shows because I don’t care. And I have nothing but Love and respect for my fans. The challenge is aligning my energy with the time, taking something that isn’t easily classified or contained, and trying to make it available for others. I don’t have an on/off switch. I am at my best when I am open, rested, sensitive and liberated to express myself as truthfully as possible. For every performance that I’ve arrived to late, there have been countless others where I’ve performed in excess of two hours, beyond what I am contracted to do, pouring everything out on the stage.

Because I care so deeply about the artistic process, I scrutinize, have perfectionist tendencies, and want space made for spontaneity, which is not an easy process, with the many moving parts on the road. Some days we are more successful than others re time. However, the vitality that is infused into the performances is always appreciated by the audiences, who may not know exactly what it took to accomplish. What hasn’t been touched upon by the media, I’m sure, are the hundreds of people who rushed the stage and stayed in excess of an hour after the show ended last night, just to connect.

Our challenge is to figure out the best way to accommodate the vitality, spontaneity, and spirit that make the performances worthwhile and special to begin with, while also making that experience available and accessible to others. If I didn’t Love and respect the art, I wouldn’t be doing this. The audience and I should have that in common.

My true audience knows emphatically that I care. It isn’t possible to affect people in any deep and meaningful way without putting sacrificial time in.

I have nothing but Love and appreciation for the fans in Atlanta, and regret not being able to give you a full show. We are figuring out a plan to make it up to you, and will announce details as soon as we have them.

Respectfully,
MLH

I’d like to share. There was a time when I would have found these words to be bullshyt. And many of you are going to find the following words bullshyt, but I’m going to say them anyway. 

I know there are all types of jokes about “Colored people time” and theories that people who are late are unprofessional, apathetic, or just plain losers. And I don’t argue because there are some battles you can’t win with words, but the reasons we think people are late usually have nothing to do with them not respecting your time, money, and attention.

A couple years ago I was robbed by gun point. Right at the height of my brand finally gaining traction. I was expected to be everywhere, and the only place I felt safe was home. I was shellshocked with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. 

I, like Lauryn consider what I do to be spiritual work instead of a “hustle.” Its harder for spirtuals to fake it. We can’t fake a smile or pretend to be in a good mood. We wear it. Internally. So internally that when we can fool you we feel even worse. And at the end of the day I hate to see performers treated like circus monkeys. I don’t feel Lauryn is “ready” for this but she “needs” this so she’s doing it. She’s been placed in a horrible position and to me she looks sad. This doesn’t look like a joyful experience for her.

There was a time I was invited places I barely had the energy to get dressed for. When I could get dressed I couldn’t leave the house. When I could leave the house I’d get to the event, park, and sit in the car paralyzed with the anxiety of having to be “On” when I felt so “Off.” When I finally had the energy to get out the car {After taming 30 simultaneous emotions} I’d finally go in…Late, and make up a lie to friends saying “You would get here as its leaving.”

 Their disappointment made me sad, so I wouldn’t finish one drink before looking for the opportunity to slip away. They assumed I didn’t care about them when actually I loved them so much I battled my soul to get there.

So the next time I just skipped the function instead of disrespecting them by being late. Of course, then they think you don’t care so the invitations stop coming. Then being excluded made me feel even more alone and isolated. Like Lauryn in the above video I’d react defensively and sometimes arrogantly only because you do feel insulted being questioned about your time when you had to fight so hard to be there.

I’d also like to add that going out in the public is now so extra with everyone using every last real life encounter as a photo op. Everyone is so hyper-aware of each other. I feel this way and I’m a normal person. I could only imagine how a celebrity of Lauryn’s caliber must feel. All those eyes and smartphones pointing at her looking for a flaw. Loving your art but judging you for a personal life they only THINK they know. Lauryn has gone through some very public failures, and has been off the scene for a very long time. She’s now the “older” aunt in an industry full of young tarts. 

I’m not making excuses, but there are just so many things to consider when someone of this magnitude can’t seem to get it together. And I’ll say this to black people. If we can’t get the benefit of the doubt from each other then who in the hell can we get it from?

It seems so many of US judge ourselves and each others on factors that we didn’t even set. I hear so many black managers who brag about firing their black employees for tardiness and I get it. Believe me. I get it. You’ve been trained to be a very good overseer. But always keep this in mind. I’ve learned that the things WE get fired for “others” are given the benefit of the doubt. 

I’m not saying it’s cool for Lauryn to do you all any kind of way. All I will say is “Get your refund, and try not to put more on her than she’s already carrying!”

And again. I’m not making any excuses, but I really don’t think this happens for the reasons people think it does.

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VitaminQ

Vitamin Q (VQ) is a writer, blogger personality, and a social commentator. He irreverently analyzes how social issues affect individuals in modern society by using sarcasm, humor, and intellect, creating his own unique blend of Southern SHADE, purely for the purpose of helping like minds cope. “I say it so you don’t have to!”
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