© 2009 . All rights reserved. Lauryn Hill

I Ain’t In No Box

Like may people from my generation, I grew up with Lauryn Hill.  From The Score, to The Miseduction, her albums were a staple in my life.  In 2002, she put out an album called MTV Unplugged No. 2.  I can remember the first time that I listened to it.  I cringed at her missteps and mistakes.  The album sat in my CD collection, ignored and quarantined.

When I started graduate school, a lot of ‘shelved’ albums got play time as the months passed by in the library.  I listened to the Unplugged album with new ears. I listened deeper to the words and to the messages instead of making judgments. I met the real Lauryn Hill. The topics of her songs reflected her creative lyrical genius and the and the roller coaster of her experience.

Interlude number 5 on this album is one of my favorite tracks out there. Previous to the interlude, she sings a song called I Gotta Find Peace of Mind, where she sings about possibilities, second chances, and the joy of being alive. It brought her to tears. During the interlude, she speaks extemporaneously as her husband searches for the lyrics for her next song.

She talks about Passion
“A friend of mine says that every tub has to stand on its own bottom. And in that respect, we all get to do what our passion is. That’s what praising god is all about, it doing your passion. It’s not useless, worthless ritual – monotonous ritual where you just show up and can’t wait to see the game. It’s doing your passion, fulfilling your passion. That’s how we say we are thinkful. That’s how we say we appreciate the opportunity to be alive.”

She talks about Healing
“Truth is from the inside. And the way we’ve been trying to heal and be healed is with these topical, surface, superficial, temporary, solutions. True healing is from the inside out. We’ve been told to protect our outer man while our inner man is dying.”

She talks about Integrity
“Just give them reality from the door, because you’re going to attract love, and the one who really loves you.”

She talks about Freedom
“It’s emotional warfare, being able to tell the people we love the most, the truth about ourselves. And when they say, hey that doesn’t fit into our box for you, we say, well, I ain’t in no box.”

All of these excerpts are but disconnected parts of a really powerful interlude, but together her words say: find your passion, don’t let your past define you, be yourself, and free yourself from the limits imposed upon you. Below are videos of the interludes divided into two parts.

Thanks Ms. Hill.

Part 1

Part II

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