‘The Miseducation’’s Music Videos Showcase Lauryn Hill in Ascension
The three hit singles on Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill were made into beautiful music videos that showcased a shining talent in ascendance. "Doo Wop (That Thing)," "Ex-Factor" and "Everything Is Everything" remain stellar examples of positive portrayals of black women in music videos, and emerged at a time when such images were scarce. Three different directors with three different visions managed to produce cooperative work that collectively tells a story of an artist's strength, determination and artistry.
Turn back the clock to catch Ms. Hill in her music video prime!
“Doo Wop (That Thing)”
Andy Delaney, one half of Big T.V., the production duo behind prominent Nineties music videos for the likes of Seal, Soul II Soul, Spice Girls and more, turned in the video for “Doo Wop (That Thing),” which snagged four MTV Video Music Awards: Video of the Year, Female Video, R&B Video and Art Direction. Ms. Hill performs the song through a split screen of her in New York City (specifically Washington Heights) and her in 1998 NYC. The concept shows off the timelessness of the artist, the song and the album behind it — and conceals a big secret.
“That was a fun video to do,” she told The Guardian in 1999. “I was six months pregnant, and trying to hide it in a zebra print dress, but it was a lot of fun.”
Acclaimed cinematographer Malik Sayeed showcases Ms. Hill’s extraordinary beauty in his video for “Ex-Factor,” which starts in a room bathed in light with her outfitted in white and makes its way into a club cloaked in a stunning blue-black light for peak flawlessness.
Sayeed also shot the classic hip-hop flick Belly (1998) and remained an active music video director who went on to shoot videos for stars including Jay Z (“Jigga What, Jigga Who” and “More Money, More Cash, More Hoes”) and Beyoncé (“Formation”).
“Everything Is Everything”
Sanji Senaka, who has directed videos for Pharcyde, The Roots, Mary J. Blige and Common, to name a few, helmed the larger than life visuals for “Everything Is Everything.”
The treatment for the video eschews gritty reality for a brighter and more fantastical take on New York City. He imagines the Big Apple as spinning around on a giant turntable and tonearm ultimately centered by Ms. Hill. Watch as the needle metaphorically shreds the concept of war and the city is restored to her rotation.
The video for “Everything Is Everything” received nominations at the Grammys, Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards and VMAs, but didn’t manage to take any of them home.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is an incredibly visual album if your mind is imaginative enough, but these three music videos expertly encapsulate her sonic visions.