The fourth annual Greenwich International Film Festival this year, took place from May 31st – June 3rd. On Friday, June 1st – it was opening night party, and to bring in the celebration was no other than the iconic, Lauryn Hill.
The night kicked off with a red carpet in which many of the attendees, organizers, and honorees walked. The flashing lights and cameras were in abundance as people were there to celebrate the festival that “bridges the worlds of film, finance, and philanthropy”. One of the attendees was actor Ryan Eggold, and during the opening remarks and ceremony, he was the one who announced the highest award of the night.
A little after that announcement, Ms. Lauryn Hill took the stage.
To describe Lauryn Hill as a “legend” is an understatement. Ms. Lauryn Hill is one of the most important artists and people in the Hip-Hop culture. Her album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” has soundtracked so many people’s lives. Right before she came on stage, I could hear people in the crowd saying “I’ve listened to her for 20 years” and “her album changed my life” – her music has had an everlasting impact on so many people, including myself. Therefore, seeing a live performance of the icon in the flesh, was unforgettable, to say the least.
She had a hype-man and a full band. Once her hype-man yelled “Are you ready…” and the band played a hauntingly dramatic introduction – the crowd started to lost it. Lauryn Hill so effortlessly took the stage and got straight to performing. The woman in front of me was close to tears, a woman next to me was jumping up and down and the entire crowd was truly, in awe.
For an artist with such an incredible catalog, every song she performed was consumed by the audience with so much appreciation. Some of the songs included “Doo Wop”, “Lost Ones”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, The Fugees’ “Fu-Gee-La”, “How Many Mics”, “Ready or Not” and “Killing Me Softly” as well as her rendition of Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down”.
“Killing me Softly” and “Doo Wop” had to have been two of the most memorable songs performed. Her vocals on “Killing me Softly” were otherworldly and it was the song with the biggest response by the audience – as there was hardly anyone there who wasn’t wholeheartedly singing along.
“Doo Wop” was her final song and she absolutely shifted the energy with it. Lauryn Hill took her shoes off (so she could comfortably jump on stage) came close to the audience – interacting with fans, holding their hands and oozing with the most incredible energy. Full of love and gratitude – she truly ended her set with a grandiose and heartwarming finale performance.
It’s not every day that one gets to see a legend perform. I can talk about how phenomenal it was all day because really, it was. Unforgettable and otherworldly: Thank you Ms. Lauryn Hill.
Proceeds from the festival will benefit Ms. Hill’s charity fund, which supports education, health, agriculture, technology, and community-based businesses throughout the Diaspora.