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Fake It 'til You MAKE It: What Jill Scott Taught Black Women During Her Verzuz Battle

“Soooo Amazing----I’ll tell you why it’s soooo amazing---“ Jill Scott crooned into our screens a couple of Saturday’s ago during her Verzuz battle against the iconic Erykah Badu. I smiled, thinking that ‘Jilly from Philly’ was simply complimenting one of her musical mentors after Badu kicked off the first female Verzuz battle with the Roots’ “You Got Me.” But the gem that followed from Scott was so much more than just the next track of the nights’ musical roster and it would have a lasting effect on me to say the least.

“Girl, I don’t know if I ever told you this,” Scott continued. “I’m sure you know…but you gave me… The Roots gave me my first opportunity to write anything! EVER! It’s the first song I ever wrote, EVER, and that’s the hook. But I’d never written anything.”

“Wow, wow.” Badu chimed.

“Quest (Love) was like, what’s up? Can you do this? And…I lied. I said ‘Yes’ ‘Yes’,” Jill confessed.

Badu affirmed, “Destiny, Destiny.”

I stared at the screen in a sort of disbelief. Scott was already glowing as she smiled lovingly at Badu but now, the ESSENCE of a black woman believing in herself seemed to be emanating from her. Her career was literally the result of the possibilities that arise when a black woman takes a chance on herself or as the old adage goes: ‘Fakes it till’ she makes it.’

Of course we’ve all heard those seemingly tired clichés and promptly rolled our eyes:

‘If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.’

‘Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.’

‘It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not.’

Not to mention the unique brand of Impostor Syndrome that many black women face even including but not limited to the incredibly talented Maya Angelou.

Hearing that a black woman worked through the fear and self-doubt that plagues so many of us at a watershed moment spurred something in me. Albeit cliché, these words ‘Fake it till’ you make it’ hold a lot of truth and weight. Scott then played her version of the same song and explained how that first leap of faith in her abilities led to a landmark moment. After Badu was delayed by traffic during The Roots performance at the Bowrey Ballroom in June 1999, Quest(love) requested Jill fill in. Despite trembling with terror, Jill took the stage and changed her life forever.

Now I know what you’re thinking, everyone won’t have the talent, abilities or actual skill of Jill Scott to back up that ‘faking it till you make it’.

That’s true, but it leads me to another question? How would Scott have known she had the abilities to write a song without Saying ‘Yes’ to an opportunity and attempting to do something she’d never done?

À LASir Richard Branson, it was in that moment of saying, “Yes,” that she challenged herself to find out. She essentially “Faked it till she made it.” I’d venture to say that no matter what the outcome, you will not lose. As the great Nelson Mandela stated, “I never lose. I either win or learn.”

So black women, say YES to amazing opportunities that come your way. Don’t let fear or self-doubt stand in your way. As cliché as it may sound, “Fake it till you make it girl!”

Ria is a screenwriter with degrees in Journalism and Theatre Arts. In her free-time she enjoys hiking, shopping, spending quality time with her husband and creating art.

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