When was the last time you went to a gig? I mean a really good, hip swaying, foot tapping, sing-along-till-you're-hoarse gig? Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing Jill Scott. And believe me, the pleasure was all mine.
My fascination with Jill Scott was something that crept up from behind and caught me by surprise. It was actually my girl Sankofa that put Who Is Jill Scott? Vol.1 on my phone and practically force fed me Miss Scott's music. Her ability to manipulate words and make them mean what she wwants them to mean had me totally sucked in. The rest, as they say, is history.
So about three weeks ago when a colleague gave me the heads up about Jill Scott's UK tour (thank you Sandrine!) you could just imagine my excitement. That night, when I got home, I don't remember taking off my coat, or changing out of my uniform. I didn't pass Go, I didn't collect my £200, but headed straight for the laptop and logged onto ticketmaster.
This brings us up to last week. The date, 30th November. The time, 7pm. The place, the 02 Academy Brixton. We actually arrived at the venue at 6.30 to be met by a three man deep queue snaking around half of the building. The excitement started to bubble up inside me from then. I didn't care that I had to wait on the street, frozen to the bone for a good half an hour.
The show started with a DJ warming up the crowd with tracks from RnB's golden era. My man was laying on 90s track after 90s track from Biggie, The Fugees, Missy, Mary J Blige, Lil Kim, Tupac, Blackstreet...oooh, I was in music heaven! The crowd was great too - whether this is a positive reflection on Brixton or on Jill Scott, I don't know. But everyone was having a ball.
The lady of honour came on stage at 9 on the dot. Not a minute early, or a minute late. And there is something to be said about an artist that respects her fans enough to show up on time. She strutted on with a sure sexiness in every step. To put it in very Ghanaian terms, confidence be what?!
She got the party started with one of my favourite tracks, Shame from the new album Light of the Sun. And that was it. I was taken. Jill Scott's music had me seduced from the get go. We were also taken back in time with emotion laden tracks such as The Way and He Loves Me
(a sure favourite!)
What I loved about Jill was the fact that she engaged with the audience, and made us fall in love with her personality. My girl has a sense of humour! And this came shining out through her anecdotes which peppered her performance right till the end. And she did not fail to show us how powerfully feminine she really is with her Womanifesto and Rolling Hills.
This beautiful lady had us all captivated and eating out of the palm of her hand. Her voice which can be sultry and moody at one minute, and high and piercing the next is another story altogether. Trust me, you know it's good music when your thirty-something year old auntie can't stop moving.
I could go on for ages about the natural talent of this woman but I have to stop somewhere. So I'll leave you with this: it was a great night. Money well spent in my opinion. Money I would spend again and again and again to see this lady perform.
I was supposed to leave my top five Jill Scott songs, but that was too difficult. So let me say this: I love all of them.
P.S. Click on the title for a little surprise!
Hello LALI readers. Not too long ago, I was thinking about our beloved Ghana, and all the achievements we as her children can display like medals of honour. Afterall, was Ghana not the first sub-saharan african country to gain independence from the British Colony? And can we not boast about never having a civil war? And have we not welcomed great political and historical figures into our country such as Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and Barack Obama? The list of achievements is simply endless, and I could have sat there for hours on end, smugly ticking them off. It makes you proud doesn't it?
It seems we have so much to be happy about, yet we have allowed our film industry to evolve into a tatesless, cheap, over-sexed monster. Yes, I'm talking about you, Ghollywood! (Gosh, I hate that name!) I know most of the time art imitates life, and it's not as if I don't know that people don't have sex in Ghana. But I don't really need to see a campus babe performing fellatio on a randy sugar daddy to get the gist of a film. Once upon a time, our films were authentically known for being family friendly. Now, I'm finding the industry's shift to soft porn totally overwhelming. And the swear words too! The writers need to know that the word "fuck" does not sit well in a sentence of Ghana English at the best of times. I practically have to watch a film alone first before making the decision to watch it with others!
Personally I blame the Film Censors Board for not adequately giving the films their rightful age rating (or for allowing these films to be distributed at all!), the smarmy producers such as Abdul Salam Mumuni and Socrates Sarfo (Yeah. That's right.I said it!) And the desperate actors and actresses that are so willing to play in these degrading roles. (I think I will hold off from naming and shaming here. It could be someone's son/daughter!)
Let me not be unfair, there are a few writers/ producers who know how to deliver a great film. (You go Shirley Frimpong Manso and Leila Djansi!) And let me just throw in here that Life and Living It, written and directed by Shirley is one of my fave Ghana films)
Here are the top three films that go on Afrocentric's Ghollywood Wall of Shame.
1. The Heart of Men
2. Hot Fork (Even the name of this is just embarrassing)
3. Kiss Me If You Can
Can Ghana's film industry, please, for Heaven's sake, spare us the details? We don't need to see it. And can we please return to a time when our films were not cringe worthy and porntastic?
I hang my head in shame as I write this post; I know it has been a long time since I have put anything out there. I have had so much to share with you guys in the past couple of months but procrastination and a bit of laziness really have kept me from writing anything. Please accept my humble apology. But thank God for my girls Friday’s Afro, Nsoromma and Sankofa who has kept LALI going.
Now that you have forgiven me, can we move on? Thank you!
A couple of weeks, Sankofa and Nsromma agreed to attend a Ghanaian Londoner’s networking event with me, after (very gentle) persuasion. For those of you who do not know about Ghanaian Londoners, get to know. It’s an organisation created by our girl Adwoa Agyemang, whose main purpose is to connect Ghanaians in London, and friends of Ghana with each other.
Now to the good stuff! Because we did indeed come across some very good stuff. Firstly was the creator of Yaa Ataa Bags. A small enterprise specialising in bags, laptop sleeves and Ipod cases. They have a retro, or "sankofa" feel because they made from old African prints. Check out the merchandise here!The girls and I practically convulsed over the clutches. They are beautifully made, of good quality, and decently priced too!
We also met another talented young entrepreneur - the creative designer and owner of Yaa Ohene Wa Textiles. It's a fabulous collection of tailored dresses, shirts and jackets for men, women and children. Please check it out. I promise, you won't be disappointed.
My main reason for writing this (except to big up young Ghanaian Londoners doing great things for themselves) is to get us all networking and generally supporting each other. You'll meet a lot of weirdos on the way, but also a lot of like minded, motivated and totally inspiring people.
Anyway chaps, until the next time...
P.S. Happy B'day LALI!
I've always really loved this song and since I've convinced myself that spring has arrived in London Town (na lie-oo!), my play list has been updated accordingly.