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5 comments | Sunday, May 06, 2007

To say that I was disappointed in the actions of neo-soul singer Meshell Ndegocello over the weekend during a performance in Atlanta would be a huge understatement. Over 500 people lined up in front of Sugarhill, a club venue at Atlanta's popular Underground to see the openly gay artist perform live, but what they were subjected too was an angry, disrespectful, and intoxicated Meshell.

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan. I don't own any of her albums, but I was familiar with her music and enjoyed the few songs that were able to break into the mainstream during the late 90's. I've written in the past about how I was moved by her courage to record the controversial song Leviticus Faggot and it's impact on the lives of many young LGBT people.

But the ounce of respect I had for Meshell going into this concert was quickly diminished by the end of her 45 minute set.
She appeared on stage dressed in all black with a head wrap covering her locks. I didn't expect her to pull a Diana Ross and have 10 costume changes during her performance, but I also didn't expect her to look like the man on the corner with a mug that says "Got any spare change? ".

Five minutes into heavy instrumentals from her band and very few vocals from Meshell, the crowd gasps as we see Meshell passed out on the middle of the stage. Was she high? Or did the flash photography from the crowd cause her epilepsy to act up? The jury is still out on that one. But upon her return to the stage she threw water on the crowd, performed with her back to the audience at times, and left the stage twice provoking boos from her paying fans.

I'd been told to expect anything from a live Meshell Ndegeocello show, it all depends on what kind of mood she's in. Her opening act ( I couldn't even begint to tell you who he was) tricked us into believing that Meshell was going to have something profound to say about the state of today's music, but instead all we got was an expensive ticket for an amateur show by an artist who is obviously bitter about not achieving commercial success.

I know she and other neo-soul artists shun anything related to "Hollywood", for them it's all about the music and I agree it should be. But if going underground is going to turn you into a bitter and angry human being you might want to re-consider recording that radio-friendly pop song.

And never under any circumstances bite the hands that's putting money in your pocket. There were die hard fans in the audience who felt betrayed and disrespected. It's a shame when you meet someone you idolize and they turn out to be the exact opposite of who you imagined them to be. Whatever Meshell is going through I hope she comes out of it really soon, otherwise she's going to remain just another D-List artist.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

darian.. you just slapped her like a mexican wife !!! did u have one of those little white athletic tees on at the time too???

May 07, 2007 7:35 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Darian ! Thanks for telling me this ! Now I dont' feel so bad . (I bought 2 tickets and my friend couldnt make it so I didn't go) We were bummed out of losing 'bout 60 bux. But I think I would've been even more pissed to stand through a crowd only to see that ! Sux that she got down like that. Sugar Hill sent out emails to everyone apologizing for her display on behalf of the club they said something about her being mad @ her promoter so she took it out on the crowd.
I googled to see if I could find anything out so thanks !

May 11, 2007 3:25 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Please go to her Myspace page and read the response from her manager. It may give you a new perspective. I agree that an audience should get the best show any artist can deliver. As far as achieving commercial success, Meshell certainly did right out of the gate, even if it has waned with time.

May 11, 2007 5:03 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I'm a big fan of Meshell (I've seen her perform at least five times).

But something told me she was going to play a short, esoteric set. I passed and glad I did.

May 14, 2007 11:41 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow. Hadn't heard anything about Meshell for awhile so went searching on the Web. And I stumbled into this Atlanta mess all over the place! Very disappointing, and strange.

I saw her on the "Bitter" tour in Orlando (a prophetic title?). At the time we were informed that no flash photography was allowed, but were told it was because Meshell had trouble with her eyes and that flashes would be painful. Epilepsy was never mentioned. Great show regardless.

Every show nowadays says "no photography", so no one would know there is a special reason unless it's spelled out for them. The cynic in me wonders if it's all a sham, and Meshell just doesn't want to be bothered by fans and photogaphed... is an ambulance on hand for all of her photo sessions?

I'll give her the benefit of the doubt because, damn it, I love her music and its adventurous spirit. But if I ever catch her playing Nintendo, it's ON!

Stephen in Orlando
( lone non-flash photo of her in Orlando is at www.babaziba.com )

May 24, 2007 1:51 AM


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