In 2016, the year of our Lemonade, I have a simple, albeit pointed, question for those purchasing tickets to see Ms. Lauryn Hill in concert: the hell do you expect?
In her now infamous response to online critiques about her perpetual lateness, Ms. Hill took to Facebook to write: “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.”
This is one of the most comically eloquent ways of trying to spiritualize trifling behavior that I’ve ever read. Kudos to Ms. Hill on that. Nevertheless, to be respectful to is honor the time the people who keep you fed, housed, and in line with the IRS, who spent their money on you. Couple that with a contract and a commitment to a show, that ought to be more than enough to align one’s energy with time.
In any event, a debate ensued underneath the post whether or not Ms. Hill is in the wrong. You can count me in on the side that says she’s more wrong than Azealia Banks most days on Twitter. That said, while I do believe artists have a responsibility to show up on time, when it comes to the case of Ms. Hill, by now, hasn’t everyone picked up a pattern?
Here is what you get when buy a ticket for a Lauryn Hill concert: the potential that she may not appear on stage until the crack of midnight, if at all. If she does decide to actually perform, not only might you experience a shortened set due to her lateness, you will also be subjected to schizophrenic versions of the songs that prompted you to buy tickets to see Ms. Hill almost 20 years after the release of her debut album to begin with.
Or, you may get a surprisingly gorgeous cover of a Sade classic. Who knows? The only certain thing with her is uncertainty about what you will be subjecting yourself to. When it comes to attending a Lauryn Hill concert, you are essentially playing a scratch-off lotto ticket with the hopes of being entertained.
By now, you know, however, the Grammy award winning singer, rapper, and CPT time personifier is not the only act ruffling the feathers of fans.
I love Janet Jackson like I love fried chicken, butts, and my student loan lenders not calling or emailing me; however, mama irked the absolute hell out of me deciding in the middle of a world tour that she wanted to plan a family at the age of 49. Oh, I hear you: “STOP BEING INSENSITIVE.” You know what’s insensitive? Starting a world tour, then stopping it and pushing back the dates only to then decide to delay it again.
Janet Jackson announced this tour in May 2015. It stopped not long after. The show was set to return in 2016 and may not get under way again until 2017. Well, if she keeps her word. We have no reason to conclude she will. Janet Jackson was fortunate enough to refund fans. To her credit, so has Ms. Hill.
Still, as a fan who spends money to see my favorites – who I helped make wealthy, by the way – I expect certain decorum. As in, you show up on time and on key if you can. If you cannot do that, I likely won’t ever bother again. When it comes to Damita Jo and L-Boogie, we’re at the point now where unless you are a gambler and/or masochist, you needn’t bother.
The next tour I’ll be attending is the Lemonade World Tour. Beyoncé has never let me down when it comes to showing up (on time) and showing out (every single time). But if she ever shifts from that commitment, I’ll sit out future shows, too. I don’t play with my time or money. Neither should any of you, unless you’re into that sort of thing. YouTube was not created for you to waste money on artists who can’t get their acts and tour schedules/sets together.