If soul was the name of a magical kingdom, Miss Jill Scott would be an empress. A fellow Philadelphian, and lyrical genius, Miss Scott rose to popularity in the late 90’s – early Millennium with hit songs “Long Walk,” “Hate on Me” and “Getting in the Way.” Scott has written and lent her voice to a number of soulful ballads. One of my personal favorites is a song that is cleverly titled “My Petition” off of her sophomore album Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Volume 2.
At first listen, one may be swept away by the smooth melody and soft thump of the drum that intertwines seamlessly with the lyrics. Lyrics that seem to portray a familiar feeling of not getting what you deserve, even when you have given your all in a relationship. It was not until a good friend informed me that the song was actually a political statement against the U.S. Government that I started to see the powerful message lying within.
Often times “soul” music is loosely tied to matters of the heart, but in this instance Miss Scott has managed to not only relate her lyrics to love but also to matters of the mind. The United States is in the midst of a presidential campaign that has left many people confused and conflicted about where to cast their vote. With lyrics like “I want to trust you, I want to love you…but you lie to me repeatedly…” Scott captures the essence of the internal calamity that people are currently struggling with. How do we know what we are being told is true? But more importantly, if we give you our trust, what will we receive as a remedy to our situation?
The chorus concludes with the line, “Oh say can you see…by the dawns early light?” a blatant ode to our Star Spangled Banner. Scott uses the line to creatively ask the simple question: do you understand my position? When it comes to politics, many have a passion for the stances and beliefs that they take. While candidates can not please every single person’s needs, it does involve some reciprocity to remedy the situation.
As we venture into making our own decisions about the upcoming election or matters of the heart, it’s important for us to have a clear idea of what we want and deserve in our leader or our partner. Scott’s remedy for reaching a decision is to write a “petition,” outlining all of those things you need. For her it’s “Fresh food, clean water, air that I don’t see…the feeling of being safe on my streets…” What is it for you?