Two Sundays ago, I attended the Jill Scott concert. It was amazing! This is my second time seeing her; she has never disappointed. The tour continues to promote her new album, ‘Light of the Sun’. I was the fan who listened to the album in its entirety on NPR’s website for free before the official release date. Then I went out and bought it, playing it over and over (currently in the car stereo now). I love it! So of course I was one of the attendees who came to the show knowing the lyrics to all of her new material. On the other hand, as what usually happens at concerts, there were those who only knew her radio hits and songs from previous recordings.
During the show, she performed ‘Quick’. It is an up-tempo, jazzy, poetic type of abstract art. The song is about how she moved so quick with this brotha and just as soon as it began, it ended. Out of nowhere, the whirlwind romance was over. The song ends with the lyrics, ‘over, can’t believe it’s over’ repeated. Well I have been there. So I feel the song. Meanwhile these sistas behind me had struck up a conversation with one of my girls. They were talking during the songs they were not as familiar with; I on the other hand was intensely anticipating everything. In Jill fashion, she switched up the song a bit, putting her live spin on it, by singing/saying ‘Damn!’ over and over at the end. It was at this point that I heard one of the chatty girls say something to the affect of, ‘Jill, is just like Mary (J. Blige). Her music ain’t good unless she going through some mess with her man, or getting drunk or beat and stuff like that.’ Her crew cackled with laughter. She went on to say that she does not like ‘happy Jill’ or ‘happy Mary’, ‘I mean, what is she talking about?’, she added.
I found it unsettling and upsetting that one woman would say that about another. First of all, if she really listened to the lyrics she would see that the song would constitute as a sad song. That is what makes it so genius, she is singing in a happy tone, about a sad occurrence- love lost. Second, I’m thinking, ‘let me get this straight. You would rather see another woman downtrodden, so that you have something to sing to in your car or house when you feel like shit? So for the sake of your listening pleasure, you’re okay with a woman feeling sad, so she can pour that into a jam for you? Am I correct?’. As a music lover and a child born into a household where music of all kinds was blasted everyday, I cannot stand immature music listeners. You know the kind who only listen to the beat. The ones who will jump to the dance floor to any rhythmic, yet misogynistic, redundant mess they hear. Now don’t get me wrong, I too am guilty of liking ‘simple’ songs from time to time. Those are usually the one’s that get the party started, but I know what I am singing. It may be raunchy, but I don’t pussy-pop to just anything.
But furthermore, why would one human delight in another’s misfortune for art’s sake? The problem is, it’s not just in music, it is in life. How many times have you sat back and internally smirked at someone’s struggle with weight loss? Or, that girl who seems to have it all together, whose boyfriend turns out to be not so wonderful? We have all at some point in our lives, whether outwardly or secretly grinned about things not going quite right in another’s life. We have found pleasure in someone else’s pain. Their struggle may have given us a boost of self-esteem, if only for a second. We have all been ‘haters’ to some degree. Sometimes it’s because misery does truly love company. But let’s get our pleasure from witnessing someone’s success. It has been said, if God is blessing your neighbor, you should rejoice because it means He is in your neighborhood. Now that’s something to ‘groove‘ to.