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Lauryn Hill Roots IRS Woes in Historical Racism in Open Letter

Lauryn Hill

Rightly or wrongly, Lauryn Hill long ago gained a reputation as being unstable, but late on Thursday she posted an essay to Tumblr that may chip away at that characterization. Titled “MLH on Racism,” the essay comes as advertised, with Hill funneling the history of black enslavement into her ideological resistance to the IRS. Whether you agree with Hill linking slavery to the tax issues that will put her in prison for three months, her position is well-stated and her prose is lucid. 

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? Use language, veiled coercion, and psychological torment like invisible fences to keep them locked into a pattern of limitation and therefore control by others. You have to remain focused to cease from rage.

In order to allieviate some of her tax burden, Hill recently signed a record deal with Sony that led her to release “Neurotic Society (Cumpulsory Mix),” her first official single in over a decade.