The Evolution of Jill Scott

Scott burst onto the scene with her honey-voiced soul in 2000. Her Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol 1. went platinum and earned her three Grammy nominations.

The Philadelphia native won her first Grammy in 2005 for her second album, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol 2.

Scott made her ESSENCE Festival debut in 2001. “When I get onstage,” she told PEOPLE in 2001, “I automatically feel beautiful.”

Scott married her longtime-boyfriend and manager Lyzel Williams in 2001. They divorced six years later. “I think that the repercussion to my success was the loss of my marriage,” Scott told ESSENCE in a cover story in 2007. “I’m not mad about it. We had 12 years together. We are still friends. I loved that man. I will always love that man.”

Scott recalled how, while looking for a record deal, a trainer told her she’d never sell if she didn’t lose weight. “It just made me hungry,” she told ESSENCE in 2007. “I’m not in bad health, but I’d like to be in great health. So that means a little more walking, and if I happen to lose weight because of that, then I ain’t gonna be mad at all. If you like it, you like it and if you don’t, don’t criticize. Be helpful.”

In 2007, Scott released her fifth album, The Real Thing, and starred in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? “She was lonely and didn’t know she was lonely. And I guess I relate to that,” she said of her character Sheila.

Scott also graced her third ESSENCE cover in 2007.

In 2008, Scott won her third Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for “Daydreaming,” and starred in her first leading role in HBO’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, playing Mma Ramotswe, a local detective in Botswana whose intuition is unmatched. The likes of Idris Elba made guest appearances on the beloved show, which only lasted a season.

Scott graced her fourth ESSENCE cover in 2008.

After being told she couldn’t get pregnant, Scott, welcomed her first child, Jett Hamilton Roberts, on April 20, 2009.

Scott named her cutie-pie Jett “because I thought my beautiful baby is a gem,” she told PEOPLE in 2009. 

Scott counts comedienne Mo’nique and singer Erykah Badu among the circle of women who helped her as a new mom. “I felt completely overwhelmed by being a mom,” she told ESSENCE in 2010. “I always wanted it, but when I actually got it, it was so much more than I had anticipated. I was so sleep-deprived. I was walking into walls, tripping over my own feet.”

A year after giving birth, Scott was back on stage performing at ESSENCE Festival in 2010.

The new mom also starred in Why Did I Get Married Too? in 2010.

In 2011, Scott teamed up with Eve for the single ” Shame” off her fourth album, The Light of the Sun.

We swear being a mom made Jilly from Philly a lot more willing to show off her sexy. Her 2011 BET Awards performance had everyone talking.

Scott graced the October 2012 cover of ESSENCE, her 6th, in a stunning, super-short haircut. “This is the simplest form of myself, ” Scott said in ESSENCE, about her short hair. Not one to be boxed in by a hairstyle, Scott also made it clear she loves switching up her look. “For me, hair is an accoutrement. Hair is jewelry. It’s an accessory. Tomorrow, I may want a wig down to my butt, and I’m gonna rock it, and the next day, I may want a big Afro, and I’m gonna rock that too.”

By 2012, Jett Hamilton Roberts’ multi-faceted mommy was back on the small screen, starring in the TV adaptation of Steel Magnolias on Lifetime.

In 2013, Scott starred in the David E. Talbert romcom, Baggage Claim, with Paula Patton and Adam Brody.

Scott received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Temple University, in May 2014. She received the honor of Doctor of Humane Letters. She celebrated the honor with another Temple alum, Bill Cosby.

Scott currently stars in Get on Up, the Brown biopic, playing the Godfather of Soul’s second wife DeeDee, a woman who suffered domestic abuse at the hands of the music icon. Scott describes DeeDee’s devotion to Brown as “that hell or high water kind of love.”

Scott graced the September 2014 cover of ESSENCE – her seventh. “My only job is to be happy,” she says. “So for everybody that cares about me and is not trying to be all up in a celebrity’s business, just know that I’m happy. My son is happy. We enjoy our lives.”

In an interview with The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 in 2013, Jill handed out some great advice when she said, “Have what you have. Enjoy that. Don’t be afraid of not being the wealthiest person in the room. Be the smartest person in the room. Be the slickest person in the room. Be the most creative person in the room. Be the most entertaining person in the room. Just be in the room.”

Ms. Scott is a curvy lady and loves it. In 2015, she told Huffington Post, “I’ve seen curvy girls that cower in their skin. And it’s really about accepting of one’s self. Men are drawn to confidence. People are drawn to confidence. So I believe whole-heartedly, it’s about how you carry yourself.”

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