"Joyful, joyful Lord, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love" — "Joyful Joyful," sung by Ms. Lauryn Hill in 'Sister Act 2' "Black rage is founded on dreaming and draining, threatening your freedom to stop your claiming" — Ms. Lauryn Hill "Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn" — Romans 12:15
Note: This piece originally appeared on Mic.com. An excerpt appears below. The full version of this post can be found here.
Back in 1998, Ms. Lauryn Hill sacrificed a bit of herself to make an offering of neo-soul music to the masses. To this day, it still heals. Or so I hope.
When I first encountered her work as a teenager, her unique blend of indignation at injustices and soaring declarations of self-love floored me. She awakened me to a level of sensual and intellectual ecstasy I hadn't known existed before. In a few words: I was in love.
At the top of the new year, with the dreaming and existential draining of the 2016 presidential election cycle before us, I'm reminded of the distinctive gift of Ms. Hill's artistry. Atop the year — at a moment when black rage will likely be rendered a junior, juvenile politics in the media, and black joy may be the choreographed remembrance of the Obama years — Ms. Hill's music is important because it can be understood as the coming together of black rage and black joy. Interpreted as a unified yet internally diverse body of music, Ms. Hill's work harbors fresh meaning in the age of #BlackLivesMatter.