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Lauryn Hill Defends Being Notoriously Late for Her Own Concerts

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Lauryn Hill Defends Being Notoriously Late for Her Own Concerts

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Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes — and that a Ms. Lauryn Hill concert will never start on time.

In recent years, Hill, 48, has developed a reputation for being chronically late to her concerts. The Atlanta Black Star even published a story in October with the headline “Fans Are Surprised Lauryn Hill Only Showed Up Two Hours Late for New Jersey Concert, Some Say It’s ‘Growth.’”

Hill spoke up about this issue during her Saturday, November 4, show at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena. “They say, ‘She’s late a lot,’” remarked the Fugees alum. “Yo, y’all lucky I make it on this stage every night.”

“I don’t do it because they let me do it,” she continued, according to footage captured by VIBE’s Mya Abraham. “I do it because I stand here in the name of God. God is the one who allows me to do it, who surrounded me with family and community when there was no support, when the album [1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill] sold so many records and no one showed up and said, ‘Hey, would you like to make another one?’”

Hill concluded: “So I went around the world, and I played the same album over and over and over and over again. Because we’re the survivors. We’re not just the survivors; we’re the thrivers.”

Lauryn Hill Finally Addresses Being Notoriously Late to Her Own Shows 3

Lauryn Hill performs at Crypto.com Arena on November 04, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Hill released her critically acclaimed and award-winning debut album in 1998. In 2002, she released MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, a live album from her MTV Unplugged special. Critics gave it poor reviews at the time. Since then, Hill hasn’t released a new album, which she told Rolling Stone has been due to “scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations and saboteurs everywhere.”

Fans in Los Angeles were actually lucky that Hill’s concert happened since she’s postponed a handful of recent shows due to ongoing vocal strain. “I fought through the last couple [of] shows pushing my voice and masking the injury with medication,” she shared via Instagram on October 30 when announcing her show that night in Fort Worth, Texas, would be rescheduled. “This isn’t safe or sustainable.”

Lauryn Hill Finally Addresses Being Notoriously Late to Her Own Shows 2

Lauryn Hill performs on day one of the 2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ on June 30, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Josh Brasted/WireImage

Hill told fans that she was “hoping to have enough voice to get through” the concert but could “barely talk, let alone sing or rap.” She added she needed to “heal and rest” to finish the tour and that she would make up the Texas date soon.

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In 2016, Hill wrote about her ongoing issues with starting her concerts on time. “I don’t show up late to shows because I don’t care,” she wrote via Facebook. “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. I don’t have an on/off switch. I am at my best when I am open, rested, sensitive and liberated to express myself as truthfully as possible.”

She explained, “For every performance that I’ve arrived to late, there have been countless others where I’ve performed in excess of two hours, beyond what I am contracted to do, pouring everything out on the stage,” adding, “Our challenge is to figure out the best way to accommodate the vitality, spontaneity, and spirit that make the performances worthwhile and special to begin with, while also making that experience available and accessible to others.”



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