• Ateeya Manzoor

The Miseducation of Conscious Creatives

Last night, I saw Lauryn Hill live for the third time in three years.

In 2016, she was rusty and two hours late. Her voice wasn’t what it used to be. The arrangements were all off — she was trying too hard to make the past new again. Her hair was shaved down and she didn’t look like herself. The tension on the stage between her and the band could be cut with a knife.

Last year, she performed with Nas. Her voice was back, did away with most of the strange musical arrangements and her music was beautiful. Only she was hiding under layers and layers of labels and dark sunglasses. The stage and production was overly produced and packaged. She wasn’t in her body.

Last night, she was coming home. Her voice was impeccable. Vocal arrangements and production was simple and on point. Her clothing felt like her. Her social justice and conscious warrior was present and speaking her truth. We saw her do something I have yet to see: she was smiling and having fun. She was beautiful and her soul was dancing. For the night, at least.

When I reflect back upon the 20 years since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released, and her life and struggles since then, it deeply resonates.

While she only had the one album, not counting the 2008 Ms. Hill, her body of work has stood the test of time because her story is the story of the human condition and that of a creative:

What do you do when there is magic inside of you that is dying to be expressed and there are no templates or role models to learn from?

Who are you in the world when you are different? Where do you belong, who will see and hear you?

What do you do when you believe the illusion is that the universe is stacked against you and wills you to fail? How do you show up when you believe the lie?

Who do you turn to when you feel alone and how do you discern if they are in service or out for themselves? Who has your back? Who will stand by you when you lose yourself?

How do you live with an open heart when you clearly aren’t from here and don’t belong in the matrix?

When will you find home within yourself and your gifts?

What is your true purpose?

She was brilliant and very comforting to see her in her natural flow stage. We can all move forward, we all evolve, we can all find home.

What a beautiful soul and story. Love Lauryn Hill. I’ll be watching her and learning, heart open.

This was written for my dear friends who are fighting the good fights and who clearly aren’t from here. I’m so glad we’re on this planet together. I’m proud of you and see you.

© 2021 Cognōscō Noor Ltd.