You heard the screams before she even stepped foot out onstage. Ari Lennox bopped out onstage in a knee-length red fur coat, covering up an all-black ensemble—each step filled with confidence.
With a voice dripping in jazz flavors, Lennox opened her New York City tour stop, a sold-out show inside the Bowery Ballroom, with “Chicago Boy,” the opening track from her latest offering, Shea Butter Baby.
And although her self-assurance shined through as she breezed through fan-favorites, including “Broke” and “Whipped Cream,” about mid-way through the pitch-perfect set, Lennox revealed that one song on her latest opus isn’t about the light offerings that are the center of her other tracks, such as copping a new apartment, getting busy in a car or even experimenting with bae.
Lennox revealed onstage that her track, “Static,” is actually about managing her anxiety. You could easily get lulled into the melody of the song without actually listening to the lyrics. But if you pay attention, it’s all there.
The lyrics to read, “You’re in control love/How good you are, I know love.” And then there’s the stanzas about “white noise,” which has been documented as having a soothing or relieving affect for those living with anxiety or even issues like insomnia.
After spilling the tea on the true inspiration of the track, Lennox encouraged the audience to yell out, “You’re in control.” Because for Lennox that seems to be her wave in 2019.
With a show that seems just like Lennox herself—real, quirky, sincere and hilarious—one doesn’t even have to mention that J. Cole, her Dreamville boss, came out onstage to help her perform “Shea Butter Baby.”
It’s because the real star of Lennox’s show was her ability to bare it all—her vulnerability, her issues and her overcome.