The texts came rolling in announcing the news:
Lauryn Hill cancels Houston concert. Claims under the weather with plans to reschedule and a popular meme came to mind.
Me: You going to that Lauryn Hill concert tonight?
Lauryn Hill: Nah, You?
It’s easy to say that my expectations were low but I still prepared myself to go to The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory (Dallas) Texas with anticipation of my first Lauryn Hill show.
I arrived slightly late to diminish the possible wait. I knew in my heart that she was coming. I was holding on to that hope. The venue was buzzing. I walked alongside the manicured grass on the lawn and smiled as I viewed the people who also had arrived in expectation of a great show.
Birthdays were being celebrated, couples were laid in the grass sharing blankets, girlfriends laughed and danced enthusiastically as the men around them sat appearing unbothered, drinks in hand. I was happy to find a spot and join them.
“Ayo shorty, won’t you go get a bag of the lethal
I’ll be undressed in the bra all see through
Why you count your jewels thinkin’ I’ma cheat you?
The only one thing I wanna do is freak you
Keep your stone sets, I got my own baguettes
And I’ll be doin’ things that you won’t regret
Lil Kim, the Queen Bee, so you best take heed
Shall I proceed?”
The second verse of Crush On You by Lil’ Kim played on repeat and I couldn’t help but give permission to continue every time it came around. This cycle repeated for about 30 minutes before a DJ arrived.
I couldn’t tell you the DJ’s name. All I can tell you is that his personal music choice was his only concern as 30 minutes later the crowd collectively let go a sigh of relief as Crush On You began to repeat.. again. This one verse was welcomed against whatever it was he had recently played.
The stage went through a small light transformation and a group dressed in Agbada and other traditional-ish outfits took their place. This portion of the show was a group from Africa. I know this because they often repeated that they were from Africa and wanted to know if we wanted to jam with Africa. Africa was mentioned so frequently that the crowd began to wonder if the performers knew, like we knew, that Africa was not homogeneous and if they were actually from the continent themselves since they spoke of it like it was the state of Texas (which we know varies in culture itself). Nonetheless the music they provided bopped so we were cool with it.
At this point a new DJ took the stage and the hits began to flow. We rapped, we sang, we made friends as we ‘wobbled’ together and reminisced on simpler moves while “Doing The Butt.” Bonds were formed and the crowd that I simply sat within and observed quickly became family. Selfies were taken, accounts were exchanged and after an hour of this we realized.
That we were waiting.
It did not feel like a wait but we had certainly entered a cycle of stay and I silently began to worry. Is this what they spoke about? Will we be the next news article that promotes the subsequential set of memes from a crowd disappointed by THE Lauryn Hill… then something excellent happened.
The band took the stage and wearing a floor length, plush white skirt and blue splattered jacket was the talented, Mrs Lauryn Hill. She quickly apologized for the delay as she had been feeling under the weather and went directly into a set that displayed heart warming positive black images while the sounds consisted of beautifully remixed versions of classics from her famed album ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.’
This was the 20th anniversary concert after all.
Rag in hand, Lauryn rapped and belted the notes that we remember effortlessly between moments where she turned to calm bouts of coughs and apparent sniffles. Every time she returned back to the mic it was as if she never needed the moment. Her energy was intoxicating. Looking through the crowd the dancing had stopped. Couples were no longer hugged together and all the soul train lines had come to halt. Everyone stood at attention transfixed on the show in front of them. It was brilliant. The production of the songs was masterful and the effectual talents of Lauryn Hill shined as if not a day had passed since she first blessed us with her beautiful spirit through song.
The memes are funny. The Lauryn Hill concert preparedness kits are hilarious, but in the very end when she shows up, she is absolutely worth it.
And if you can’t wait for it.. Then maybe you don’t deserve it.
Your best friend,