“Hip-hop has the potential to be a great forum. We have our own form of communication,” Lauryn Hill said in her 1998 VIBE cover story. “I want to empower. I want to inform. I want to inspire.”
It’s been nearly 20 years since a young Lauryn Hill sat down with us in South Orange, New Jersey. At the time, the singer-songwriter was on the brink of releasing her debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She was 23 years old and still naive as to just how influential her body of work would become within and outside of the music industry. But as her only studio record approaches its 20th anniversary, it is clear to all those who enjoyed the album and the female emcees that came after her, that LC has accomplished exactly what she put into the universe decades ago.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has undoubtedly empowered, informed, and inspired generations of fans. At 21 years of age when the album was recorded, she proved that a young mother could have her career and family without sacrificing one over the other. She allowed fans a fly-on-the-wall view of her inner thoughts and personal experiences. And most importantly, she encouraged millions to love.
From celebrating the joy of bringing a life into the world on “To Zion” to the heartbreak of a tumultuous romantic connection on “Ex-Factor,” Miseducation explores multiples stages and types of love—the good, the bad, and the in between. While its singles have been reinvented and incorporated into today’s biggest hits (Drake sampled “Ex-Factor” on his No. 1 single “Nice for What”; Cardi B sampled the same single on “Be Careful”), an underrated, yet vital part of the album is found in the various skits sprinkled throughout the project.
Led by poet Ras Baraka, the skits depict a classroom of young children exploring themes of love as they knew and understood them at the time. Their responses are insightful, witty, and fearless to say the least, but with with a large gap of time between then and now, they aren’t exactly representative of a millennial’s outlook today.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, we’ve recreated the seven iconic skits with five 20-somethings. Together, they delve into the same questions Ras Baraka asked to his class in 1998 (some questions have been updated to reflect the time), in order to explore how our experiences, relationships, and thoughts have evolved.
Cinematography: Jessie Whitman
Production: Jessica McKinney & Stacy-Ann Ellis
Editing: Jessica McKinney
Host: Carl Lamarre
Cast: Chris Prothro, Danielle Pearman, Foluke Tuakli, Jasper Brooks, Jasmine Aspinall