Lauryn Hill Links IRS Sentencing to Entrenched Racism

Molly Wardlaw  /  June 29, 2013
Lauryn Hill recently took to Tumblr to sound off on her recent sentencing on charges of tax evasion.
On May 7th, Hill was ordered to three months in prison and three additional months of home confinement for failing to pay taxes on $1.8 million in earnings. 
Days before the May ruling the ex-Fugee was forced by her record label to release new track “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)” early, ahead of the impending legal deadline. 
Hill’s Tumblr message, titled “MLH on Racism,” is well crafted, emotive and (of course) highly controversial. She begins the letter with her thoughts on “reverse racism” as a flawed concept and the oppression of various peoples in general.
“The African Slave Trade, the institution of slavery, colonialism, its derivative systems, and the multiple holocausts throughout history, where whites used race as the defining reason to justify their oppression, conquest, and brutal treatment of non-white peoples, are how race became such a factor to begin with,” she said.
As far as how this relates to her current situation with the IRS, Hill explained:
“I shuddered during sentencing when I kept hearing the term ‘make the IRS whole’… make the IRS whole, knowing that I got into these very circumstances having to deal with the very energies of inequity and resistance that created and perpetuated these savage inequalities. The entire time, I thought, who has made black people whole?! Who has made recompense for stealing, imposing, lying, murdering, criminalizing the traumatized, taking them against their wills, destroying their homes, dividing their communities, ‘trying’ to steal their destinies, their time, stagnating their development, I could go on and on.

“Has America, or any of the nations of the world guilty of these atrocities, ever made black people or Africa whole or do they continue to sit on them, control them, manipulate them, cage them, rob them, brutalize them, subject them to rules that don’t apply to all?”
She continued to question the concept of making someone or something “whole” and then focused on the trial:
“The prosecutor, who was a woman, made a statement during sentencing about me not doing any charity work for a number of years during my ‘exile.’ A) Charity work is not a requirement, but something done because someone wants to. I was clearly doing charitable works way before other people were even thinking about it. And B) Even the judge had to comment that she, meaning I, was both having and raising children during this period. As if that was not challenging enough to do. She sounded like the echo of the grotesque slave master, who expected women to give birth while in the field, scoop the Baby up, and then continue to work. Disgusting.”
The singer/rapper first announced back in April that she was making new music again in order to pay off mounting debt to the IRS. 
She defended her decision to not to pay taxes for three years in a different Tumblr post from last year.
“Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have financially in need of anything,” Hill wrote. “This is an old conflict between art and commerce.”

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