- Category: Music
- Written by Temwachi Kamanga
Jill Scott has said that she began as a poet and will die as such. As hard as she may try to present herself as a poet, she is still widely known as a multi-platinum selling artist and grammy award winner first thanks to three successful albums. However that may change with the release of her first collection of poetry, The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours released in April 2005.
She has reigned supreme on the soul music scene as an artist with substance and staying power since bursting on the scene with her infectious and melodious single, “A Long Walk” off her debut, Who is Jill Scott, Vol. 1: Words and Sounds. She has put out a solid singles since then that are cherished and revered by both socially aware hip hop purists as well as “organic soul” lovers. Scott’s past musical offerings gave little evidence of her first love, poetry. We heard a snippet of it on her first album on the heartbreaking, “Love Rain” and again on “The Thickness” off her live double CD sophomore effort, Experience: Jill Scott 826+ but not much anywhere else. However, her imprint is everywhere in her new book. Her poetry is real, immediate and accessible. An ode to humanity. A love song to life.
She cites the poet, Nikki Giovanni, as her first introduction to poetry and calls on other poets to, “write like there’s no tomorrow. If you do not, there may not be.” In the collection’s introduction Scott is surprisingly open and honest when she shares that, “as a young adult, unfortunately and quite fortunately, I had my heart ripped to shreds. I say ‘unfortunately’ because it hurt like a mother. It was such a horrible slap to my young ego, I almost lost me but I say “fortunately,” because I began to write again. I wrote to get the stench of love lost off of my being. I wrote because crying was not sufficient. I wrote basically to save the me I had grown to appreciate. And once again, I found words utterly freeing.”
She breaks up her collection into five parts that deal with everything from self reflection, empowerment, religion, spirituality and politics. Always the innovator, Jill Scott has enhanced the impact of her craft on the reader by including works by photographers; Will Downing, Eric McLaurin as well as paintings by Joshua May and Stacy Wilson.
Scott entices even the most resistant of all audiences with her seemingly simple style, but dazzles and hypnotizes uber poetry elitists with her haiku. In Haiku #5 she conjures some powerful and historically painful imagery by writing,
I wish I could whip your back
But that won’t help me.
She gets downright cheeky and playful in Old School Lovin ’,
So I want to share
Something my momma taught
A skill for loving – the wild and wicked kind
I think you are deserving
So I practiced and I know it’s tight
You used to say
My mom was a freak
And yes you were right
So get comfortable
Close both eyes
Open your mouth
My scratch potato pie
Reading Scott’s poetry is similar to attending her electric and interactive live shows because she has a way of inviting you in her world, encouraging you to take off your shoes, to get comfortable and testify your own experiences right along with her. Each reading of this book highlights a different observation just like watching her perform the same song numerous times always elicits a slightly different reaction. She’s got something in this little gem for everyone ranging from independent women anthems, sharp social commentary, tributes to lovers and so much more. For new and die hard Jill Scott fans, this is an essential item to your collection.
Jill Scott performs like at the Air Canada Centre live as part of the Sugar Water Festival along with Queen Latifah, Erykah Badue, Floetry and our very own Divine Brown on July 27th. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.