Miss Lauryn Hill is on tour right now!
Wait, let me rephrase that. A bunch of venues across the country sold a bunch of tickets for a Lauryn Hill show, but it’s up in the air whether or not she’ll actually be there. At least that seems to be the case.
Last night, fans of the former Fugees songstress packed together into Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall for nothing. Though the show was scheduled to start at 8PM, Hill didn’t show until 11:19PM, when most were already in line waiting for refunds. The show ended at 1AM to a nearly empty crowd. The delay quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, with many people having no sympathy for those who bought tickets, considering they should know better by now.
“Yo you going to that Lauryn Hill concert tonight?”
Lauryn Hill: “nah you?”
— pj (@pjhoody) February 1, 2017
Why are people still buying Lauryn Hill concert tickets? She hasn’t attended one of her own concerts since 2013.
— Kung Fu Manda (@ErykahWest) February 1, 2017
At this point if you’re buying tickets to a Lauryn Hill concert & expecting her to actually perform that’s a YOU problem.
— SDot (@IamKing_RL) February 1, 2017
Why should they know better? Because Miss Hill has a horrible track record of actually showing up to her concerts on time, if it all. Last spring, she showed up two hours late for an Atlanta show and could only perform for 30 mintues before the venue shut down. At last year’s Grammy ceremony, she was a no-show to the event, leaving The Weeknd to perform “In the Night” alone, a performance that was set to feature Hill. Her inclusion in the ceremony was supposed to be a secret, but somewhere along the line there was a
miseducation miscommunication and her appearance was announced prior to the showing. According to her team, she made it clear that her appearance was not definite, as the logistics were becoming a bit of a mess. She “attempted a last minute rush to LA”, but was unable to make it.
With these being only the most noted examples of her tardiness, there’s a growing concern about how she mishandles her fan base. After her Atlanta mix-up last year, Hill offered a long-winded response explaining her casual delays. Part of the semi-apology explained it away as her inability to access her artistry during the time constraints of a tour.
I don’t show up late to shows because I don’t care. 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. 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.
Of course, we have nothing but love for Miss Hill, but antics such as these hurt her legacy. When people shell out money, time, travel expenses, and more to witness one of their artistic heros live in-action and it’s all for nothing, there’s major damage done to the artist-fan relationship that even the most ardent fans can’t always ignore. We understand the struggle that can come with touring and everything that goes into it, as well as the strain it can have on one’s mental health, yet the reputation she’s making for herself isn’t a positive one.
On the flip side of this is the fact that it very well may be a mental or even physical health issue. After Kanye West‘s bizarre antics on his Saint Pablo Tour, many were left confused and angry, even more so after the entire tour was cancelled. However, once it was revealed that he was struggling with his mental health and admitted to the hospital, the culture as a whole fully supported him and came to understand that his tour cancellation was for the best. We can only hope that Hill isn’t going through a similar situation, but if she is, we’ll be there to lift her up again.
With touring being the main way in which artists and fans can truly connect, building a solid basis of trust is important. Whatever the issue may be, as she continues on her The MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling! tour, hopefully she can gain back the trust of all of her fans and not once again become a late night Twitter joke.