Today, the legendary singer, songwriter, and actress Jill Scott turns 50!
“Jilly from Philly” – as she is affectionately called – burst on the scene in 2000 with her debut albumWho Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1. The album included the singles “A Long Walk,” “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat),” and “The Way.” Since then, she has released four more albums and won three Grammy Awards, four Lady of Soul Awards, and three Soul Train Awards.
Aside from having a stellar music career, Scott also dabbled in acting. In film, she has appeared in Why Did I Get Married, Why Did I Get Married Too?, and Get On Up. In television, the Philadelphia native has had roles in Girlfriends, Black Panther, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Being Mary Jane, and Black-ish.
As Jill celebrates her 50th birthday, here are some of her best moments she’s had on screen, stage and studio.
Jill co-wrote The Roots’ “You Got Me.”
“You Got Me” was co-written by Scott, who also recorded the song’s vocals. Her part was eventually re-recorded by Erykah Badu because the record label wanted a more known artist for the lead single from Things Fall Apart.
‘Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1’
Scott was the first artist signed to Steve McKeever’s ‘Hidden Beach Recordings’ imprint Her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was released in 2000. She earned three nominations at the 2001 Grammy Awards – “Best New Artist,” “Best R&B Album,” and “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.”
Jill Becomes a Grammy Award winner.
After 5 years in the music industry, Scott finally broke through at the 2005 Grammy Awards, winning for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” for the song “Cross My Mind.” She would go on to win two more Grammys in 2007 and 2008.
Photo by: Steve Grayson
Breakout Film Roles
In 2007, Scott played Sheila, a wife at her wits’ end in the film Why Did I Get Married. She reprised her role in the sequel 3 years later. In these films, she was able to showcase her acting prowess to a larger audience.
Jill’s ESSENCE Magazine Covers throughout the years.
Since her rise to prominence in 2000, Scott has appeared on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine on seven separate occasions, each highlighting the singer’s natural beauty.
Jill performs at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival.
In 2017, Jill was one of the headliners for the Mary J. Blige-curated “Ladies Night” show at the ESSENCE Festival. She sported at beautifully large afro and had a memorable performance, singing hits such as “Golden,” “So In Love,” and “Is It The Way.”
Photo by: Erika Goldring
2015 Black Women in Music Honoree
In 2015, the three-time Grammy Award winner was honored at the 6th annual ESSENCE Black Women in Music. “Every ounce of respect you have for me, I will take it and I will put it in my heart and wear it on my shoulders and put it in my backpack,” Scott said at the ceremony. “Every ounce of appreciation that you give me, I will put it in my heart, I will offer it to my son.
Photo by: Tommaso Boddi
Scott & Erykah Badu Give Us A Verzuz For The Culture
On May 9, 2020, neo-soul sisters Erykah Badu and Jill Scott went head-to-head in a “Verzuz.” The evening was beautiful – it was two friends who admire and respect each other’s artistry, playing some of their most iconic tracks. It was an amazing moment for the culture.