Mel D. Cole


afropunk bk: jill scott turns radiohead’s “creep” into self-love anthem

August 25, 2019

When I was younger, Jill Scott’s music shaped ideas of care and affection; coating them in a sticky, sultry type of love that was too grown for me to fully comprehend when I first listened to her. But upon further investigation, with my now grown ears and body, I realize she was promoting not only a mature love but a free kind of love.

Scott’s performance last night was all about free love. And love at its freest when it is the love you give to yourself. “I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo,” Jill Scott sang to a crowd of people who have let her in their hearts and homes when they were at their loveliest, their holiest; and into their bedrooms whether or not she noted, the folks they were sleeping mattered to their grander life experiences.

Her rendition of Radiohead’s ‘90s outsider’s anthem “Creep” was less of a cover and more of a declaration of what she intended to do with her soul, operatic voice, and brown skin underneath stars and stage light in Commodore Barry Park. Scott enticed the audience to fall in love with the oddest parts of themselves. It was glorious to watch her use her queenly presence and divine gift — that heavenly instrument lodged in her throat that she plays with as a child plays with toys — to make us love the things we might think are odd or unacceptable or embarrassing. We wish we were perfect, but Jill Scott told us in no uncertain terms that “we’re so fucking perfect.”

I did not know I needed the woman that taught me what love looks like with “He Loves Me,” or what love-making looks like with “Imagination/Crown Royal Suite” (the superior version) and what self-love looks like with songs like “Hate On Me,” to now be able to tell me about what loving the sticky, odd things I’d rather deny looks like. But here I was, blessed by the universe, to get exactly what I needed but wasn’t even mature enough to want. That’s abundance.

Jill Scott devoured the Radiohead anthem and took her shoes off. Now, that she had cracked open our hearts and hypnotized our minds, she could get down to business. But first auntie needed to get comfortable and from there — she reminded us why she has been chosen to articulate love with her words and sounds for the last twenty years.