We all go through periods in our lives that are riddled with bad luck and poor decisions. No matter how much older, wiser and more experienced we get, we all sometimes fail to grasp the curve balls that life throws at us – and that’s ok. The point is to get right back up after a knockout, proceed with caution and continue on the path to self-betterment. Sometimes it helps to have a role model; an individual that we look up to for inspiration to help us keep on moving when the road gets particularly bumpy.
I’ve been blessed to have many women in my life who served as role models, but one of the most prominent was a woman who embodied the very essence of hip hop and provided me with music that served as daily therapy, motivational mantras and beauty in a gruesome time. That woman is Lauryn Hill. Her music overflows with advice on how to live a purpose driven life, and it’s all lovingly written and rapped to the tune of a dope beat.
So ladies, as you embark on your Monday, some with heavy hearts and minds plagued with the burdens of the week, remember what L Boogie said and use these tools as a way to lighten your heavy load.
How you gon’ win if you ain’t right within?
This is a golden question. This is something you should ask yourself every time you experience failure. You cannot excel in life and be happy if your heart, mind and soul dwell in a toxic place. No one is more familiar with this than Lauryn. Through personal challenges that were often made public, she dealt with scrutiny from complete strangers and came out on the other side a better woman. The choices we make often reflect where we are emotionally in our lives, so it is important to find a serene place where you can exist. Forgive those who hurt you, love those who love you back, change what you are unhappy with and come to terms with things that you simply cannot change.
Everything is everything, what is meant to be will be. After winter must come spring; change it comes eventually.
This is a particular lesson that I find myself having to repeat and re-learn. Be patient. You will taste the sweet fruits of your labour, this is guaranteed, however some things take longer than others so you must exercise discipline and wait. After Lauryn’s quintessential album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, fans expected another masterpiece; but she has yet to release another album that has been critically acclaimed like The Miseducation. MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 was a very intimate album in which Lauryn shared her views on love, society and spirituality, however it was far more quiet than her debut. It served a different purpose and who knows what would have in fact happened if Lauryn had succumbed to external pressures and attempted releasing another album meant to top The Miseducation. What you should learn from this is that everything eventually comes full circle and it is better to take your time to explore your options and do things right than to run off with full zeal not truly knowing what direction you’re moving in.
Wisdom is better than silver and gold.
As women, we are taught about the importance of beauty pretty much from birth. If a woman tells you that she has absolutely no desire to be beautiful, I guarantee you she’s lying. But the thing about beauty is that its subjective – every person defines it for themselves based on individual beliefs. If you look at Lauryn, you see a very regal beauty. She often wears little to no make-up, letting natural features like her exquisite cheekbones and heart-shaped lips stand out on their own. Her hair is free and natural and her style of dress is youthful and carefree. There’s a certain glow that comes from her skin and a reassured look on her face that cannot be manufactured. Its the look of intelligence and intellectual capability. Knowledge is power, and the women of the world who are accomplished and brilliant truly stand out from the rest by the way they carry themselves, in the way they speak and in the thoughts they bring forth. It is a confidence that doesn’t come from the perfect shade of lipstick or a 24 inch waist. It does not come from expensive clothes or sparkly jewels, it comes from wisdom. So the next time you feel unpretty, instead of running to the salon, do what you’re good at – exhibit your natural talents. Go learn about something that piques your curiosity and share your new found knowledge with a friend. Wisdom is the true essence of beauty.
Now tell me your philosophy, on exactly what an artist should be. Should they be someone with prosperity, and no concept of reality?
We all have a talent that we are either born with or find somewhere along the way of our journey. Having a distinct talent is a beautiful thing because it gives you a sense of pride and purpose. We all want to be one of the best, if not the best at what we do, and this can only come from hard work and absolute dedication. However, sometimes we get confused and become unsure of what steps we must take to reach success. When Lauryn first appeared on the music scene alongside The Fugees, she stood out. She was not like her contemporaries, who were overtly sexy, brash and intimidating. Lauryn was more subtle, more withdrawn and contemplative and her sex appeal came from an understated elegance. I’m sure she had people in her ear who told her that her image needed to be a certain way, or that her lyrics needed to be more explicit, but she remained level headed and stayed true to her own personal sense of art. Sticking to her gut yielded tremendous success, as The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is not only considered one of the best albums of the 90s, but one of the best albums of all time.
Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.
It’s ok to be vulnerable. That doesn’t make you weak. It’s ok to admit you’re struggling and need help and it’s alright if the world sees your flaws. In songs like ”Doo Wop (That Thing)” and “Lost Ones”, Lauryn came off as a fierce, truth spitting woman who had it all together. We got to see a much softer and personal side of her with “Ex-Factor” and “To Zion”. Being a strong, independent woman is dope as hell, but you have to remember you’re not a robot. You’ll feel a whole milieu of emotions in your life and some of them will put you in an unstable position. Once again, this does not mean that you’re weak. If anything, this is meant to test your strength, so that you may become stronger than ever before. But in between those strong moments, don’t be afraid to let your guard down and expose your soul. Women who bravely do so are the strongest of all.
Now that you have a few more pieces of wisdom to add to your ever-growing arsenal of knowledge, go out and face the world more fearlessly than the day before!