Lauryn Hill's Side of the Story

Categories: Commentary

Mike Brooks
Lauryn Hill in Dallas last December.

Lauryn Hill will be gone till October. A week after making headlines for signing a million dollar five-song deal with Sony, she showed up to court on Monday with a check for $970,000. But it wasn't enough to save her from jail time. The five-time Grammy winner and highly esteemed queen of neo-soul was sentenced to three months for tax evasion from 2005 to 2008, for which the maximum sentence is three years. She will report to prison on July 8. She'll serve an additional three months of house arrest and a year of supervised probation after her jail time is served. As a mother of six minor children, this is a tough blow for the definitive R&B songstress.

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Before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, Hill pleaded guilty to all charges.

"I was put into a system I didn't know the nature of. ... I'm a child of former slaves. I got into an economic paradigm and had that imposed on me. ... I sold 50 million units ... now I'm up here paying a tax debt. If that's not likened to slavery, I don't know what is," she stated.

On the Tumblr blog she started not long after the prosecution began, Hill cited her reasoning for tax evasion as flying off the radar -- removing herself and her family from society "in order to keep them safe, healthy and free from danger."

"This was absolutely critical while trying 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. There were no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment, denial, and/or exploitation. In order to liberate myself from those who found it OK to oppose my wholeness, free speech and integral growth by inflicting different forms of punitive action against it, I used my resources to sustain our safety and survival until I was able to restore my ability to earn outside of it!" Hill blogged 11 months ago.

Though she hasn't released an full project since her 2001 Unplugged 2.0 album, Lauryn Hill has been highly revered in the music world since the release of her classic 1998 debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Earlier this week, she took to her Tumblr to release a new single, "Neurotic Society." On the blog, she claimed that she was "required" to release the song due to her impending legal deadline. At this time, it is unclear whether or not we will see the other four songs from the Sony deal before Hill becomes a guest of the State.

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