Lauryn Hill, Nas & Dave: Why We Need Art During Times Of Crisis
Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Yesterday I watched a clip of Afghani people at an airport escaping towards a Plane that is taking off after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan & the American military was leaving the nation. Many of them tried hanging onto the landing gear of a US military plane, I watched as human bodies plummeted to the concrete from the air, all instantly presumed dead. I could come here & give you a well informed partusan speech about how the democrats fumbled or the republicans started it, I could give you my thoughts on US involvement in the middle east, or Soviet involvement, I could sit here, intellectualize this matter & pretend to be a political pundit like Bill Maher or something, but I would be lying to you.
I have never in my life seen human bodies hanging off the wing of a plane & falling from the sky, outside of the movies. I could not conceptualize the anticipated living conditions that would lead someone to that level of fear, that they would hold on to the wing of a plane in order to escape the nation, to get to a foreign land they've never seen. I have gone through a vast array of emotions about what I have seen & none of them are political. That video has seemingly been branded on my brain with an iron, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Particularly because I was just on a flight a few weeks back.
The cabin crew did all of the necessary take off procedures, they told us about the locations of the masks in case their was turbulence, they flashed the seatbelt sign, we were told in case of an emergency to wear our masks first before helping someone else, we watched a soothing video that showed us all of the nearest exits on the plane, & then suddenly the pilot came on the P.A. system. They would not let us leave because the baggage on our flight belonged to passengers that didn’t make the flight. So there was a 45 minute delay, until the baggage was safely taken off the plane & given back to its rightful owners who happened to sleep in late that day. That was how much consideration the pilot gave for the bags on the plane.
Where was that level of consideration for human life? Why did the pilot take off? There are so many ways to prevent a pileup of humanity. Stadiums are able to control hundreds of thousands of people, why couldn't the American military contain them? Where was the humanity? The pilot treated them like he was a kid with a magnifying glass & they were ants. It was disturbing to say the least. That’s why I can’t give you a political opinion, I don’t see this as a bipartisan political issue. Those were human beings, entire stories, aspirations & ambitions, peoples brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, & children. I see this as a continuation of an incorrect way of being.
When there is turmoil in the world, I often seek solace in the arts. Politics & corporate media will try to intellectualize & politicize human life, & turn human lives into political games, but the arts are where we go to hear truth, empathy & how things feel.
Nas' Kings Disease II album did not disappoint in my pursuit of solace in the arts, it contained as much substance as you can expect from a Nas album. Nas did his thing but Lauryn Hills verse on the album was the most accurate analysis of a problem that truly reflects the times we live in. The duo performed their song 'Nobody' & truly showed what Hip Hop was originally made for over the smoothest instrumental. Lauryn Hill said “there’s so much crisis in this world because you reap what you sow” It’s a biblical proverb that truly represents the times.
I don’t believe bipartisan politics is going to solve the perils we face as mankind. That's why we need true artists. Art-making and viewing art allows us to process our experiences. Art helps us to express and to understand the world around us. Lauryn Hills verse states that people have disregarded life & nature, they've disregarded science, they've disregarded empathy, they've disregarded beauty, they've devalued human beings, & certain people have been greedy, self serving & selfish on a societal scale, in all facets of life, for far too long & unfortunately, you reap what you sow.
Lauryn Hill emphasizes the way of the future as harmonizing with the way of being. It's really the only way to survive. Individual greed, colonialism, barbarism & an unsophisticated understanding of beauty & luxury, have created the modern broken world. You can either follow the correct way of being, or you can keep fighting & sinking like quicksand, holding on to old models & standards of thinking & being.
Certain business interests have created clearly avoidable problems our modern world faces because they were being selfish, with souls like that pilots, which are so clearly bankrupt of any sophisticated sense of morality, beauty, empathy or humanity. It's savage. Only a sociopath could take this beautiful planet & go out of their way to make it ugly for their own gain. In the same way only a sociopath would prevent an entire gender from educating themselves & bettering their societies, because these people want to exert force over other people, its the same inclination across the board.
If America's radicalization of the Taliban represents someone doing wrong & having it backfire against them, Lauryn Hill's story is the perfect representation of how an individual can do good & stand in truth, inside of a corrupt system, regardless of what your society's value systems are, & ultimately having it work out because through time, the truth always prevails.
Lauryn Hill was told to abort her child by a corrupt entertainment industry, told to strip & become a parody of herself, for an industry that would then start off the infamous me-too movement, full of rapists & pedophiles. But originally, society looked at Lauryn Hill as crazy, why wouldn’t she just put herself in predicaments she was uncomfortable with for large sums of money. They went through decades of media smear campaigns against Lauryn Hill, countless lawsuits, but ultimately, the truth prevailed. Many of the executives that were around at that time have been Me-Too'd & fired, and she's working on her own pace, making music that stands amongst her greatest, which is truly saying something. She didn't need to sacrifice her morals & become a caricature of herself, and she's telling us we don't have to either. This verse showed growth & experience. What was wrong was wrong, & the person who was right prevailed in the end.
"All my time has been focused on my freedom now
Why would I join 'em when I know that I can beat 'em now?
They put their words on me, and they can eat 'em now
That's probably why they keep on tellin' me I'm needed now
They tried to box me out while takin' what they want from me