Has Anybody Told Lauryn Hill That "Going Underground" Is Not License to "Capone"

It's been 16 years since Lauryn Hill rapped "So while you're imitating Al Capone/I'll be Nina Simone/And defecating on your microphone" on the Fugees hit "Ready or Not". Turns out Hill may have more in common with Capone than Simone after all. Last Thursday she was charged with not paying federal taxes on $1.6 million. Now she faces jail and a $100,000 fine.

In a post on her Tumblr blog, Hill says she didn't pay because she had to go "underground" for her safety and the safety of her family. "I did this in order to build a community of people, like-minded in their desire for freedom and the right to pursue their goals and lives without being manipulated and controlled by a media protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda," says Hill. "Having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance."

Hmm...I don't want to be controlled by a military industrial complex either. I also consistently put other people's needs before my own--which is why I went to my sons' baseball games and let them hang with friends Saturday instead of getting some waxing done and going to a party--but I have never not paid my taxes.

But Hill says she also had to disappear from the tax man "in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by." And she had to "find and establish a new and very necessary community of healthy people, and also heal and detoxify myself and my family while raising my young children."

I feel her. I want to insulate my family from all those "isms" and societal craziness too. But she needs to get a clue. There is not a single person alive in America who doesn't experience at least ONE of those things every day. I can check off several and I'd bet good money that you can too. But we can't just decide to stop paying taxes.

I want to empathize with Hill. I'm sure that since she's a former superstar her situation is more intense. I know that the entertainment industry that she once eagerly embraced--and which made her so successful--can kill your soul if you're not completely vigilant about it. It chews folks up and spits them out. It makes them have to have a persona and a team runs that it. It makes folks look like this:

You want to be famous? Fame means you have to look that good all the time. The pressure makes you have a breakdown and/or become an addict/drunk a la Charlie Sheen/Britney Spears/Lindsay Lohan/Demi Lovato--who, as far as we know, still manage to pay their taxes.

I guess Hill's solution of going underground and being stress-free was license to start looking like this:
And stop paying taxes. I can't help but wonder, did cashing royalty checks without paying taxes on them cause stress?


Lisa Blah Blah said…
I have long had a theory that Lauryn has developed a (possibly undiagnosed?) mental illness. Her recent comments seem to reinforce that theory. It doesn't seem like her illness is being managed very well and it's just a sad, continuing downward spiral.

I was a huge fan back in the day and then I saw her in concert...maybe 10 years ago? She was a mess, working out some of her songs on stage, refusing to let the band on stage with her, yelling at them to stay back... it was really disappointing and kind of horrifying to watch. We left before the show was over.

I hope she can get back on track.
Liz Dwyer said…
I have also wondered about the mental health issues with her. I've wondered if she's bipolar or schizophrenic because of the paranoia--and it frustrates me that there is no one around her to ensure she's getting help. I mean, that conservatorship is working really well for Britney Spears.
Toni Campbell said…
The conservatorship is only working for Britney Spears in that it is protecting her assets and her privacy. But it doesn't seem that she is getting any true help with her mental illness.
Liz Dwyer said…
That's probably true. But how do they get her to the point where she's functional enough to be on TV and tour?

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