One Music Fest in Atlanta saw performances by some of music’s top artists last weekend, but it was a special set by Lauryn Hill that stole the show.
Midway through her medley of classic hits, the legendary R&B singer performed “To Zion” and was met onstage by the song’s inspiration — her son Zion Marley.
Toward the end of the performance, Marley surprised his mother by walking onstage and embracing her with a hug. “That’s my son Zion, y’all,” she told the audience, which cheered during the exchange.
“So we’re going to talk about generations,” she added, as she requested Marley’s children, her two grandchildren, be brought onstage.
Hill wrote and released the emotional ballad in 1998 as an ode to Marley, her first born. It landed on the chart-topping album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and is a musical representation of a woman’s choice and the joy that comes from having a child.
The first verse of the song reads, “Unsure of what the balance held, I touched my belly overwhelmed. By what I had been chosen to perform / But then an angel came one day, Told me to kneel down and pray. For unto me a man child would be born.”
The song came when Hill was at a peak in her career; many critics, she says, suggested her music career would suffer as a result of her baby.
“Woe this crazy circumstance, I knew his life deserved a chance. But everybody told me to be smart / ‘Look at your career,’ they said ‘Lauryn, baby, use your head’ But instead I chose to use my heart.”
Marley, the grandson of Bob Marley, is now 25. Hill went on to have five more children.
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