Lauryn Hill will begin her prison sentence for tax evasion, to which she plead guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison on May 6th of this year. She reported to federal prison on July 8th and completes what has been an epic fall from grace. She was the biggest thing in entertainment at one point, and now she’s sitting in jail, leaving the world to forever speculate on what could have been.
According to mtv.com:
“on Monday (July 8) [Lauryn Hill] checked into a a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut to begin her time… Last year the Hill admitted that she ‘intentionally and willingly’ ignored her responsibility to file yearly tax returns on more than $1.5 million of income between 2005 and 2007, was also sentenced to an additional three months of home confinement, according to The Associated Press. She was also accused in her native New Jersey of failing to pay more than $446,000 in state taxes, though her attorney confirmed to the AP that Hill had already paid more than $970,000 to satisfy her federal and state tax liabilities.”
Although The former Fugees star plead guilty to these charges, she didn’t do so quietly, as she compared her plight to slavery. As reported here, Hill said:
“I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,” the soulful crooner said. “I had an economic system imposed on me. Someone did the math, and it came to around $600 million,” she said about how much revenue her music has earned all together. “And I sit here before you trying to figure out how to pay a tax debt? If that’s not likened enough to slavery, I don’t know. This wasn’t a life of jet-setting glamour. This was a life of sacrifice with very little time for myself and my children.”
These sentiments were also echoed by her lawyer, saying that “the government has let a number of celebrities off” without criminally prosecuting them, most recently was Willie Nelson. Which adds fuel Lauryn’s slavery analogy.
But regardless of her fall from grace, I still often wonder about the career that could have been for Hill. By the time she released ”The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill” she was on pace to be the best female artist of all time. And while that may now seem laughable to some, back then there was no other artist with the voice, lyrical rap skills as well as – if not better than – any female mc at the time, and the ability to get behind the camera and in front. There were supposed to be more albums, more Grammys, probably an Oscar or two. She was not just going to be an artist, but also a community activist that would have had a platform big enough to make an impact. Instead, we’re speaking about her spending her next three months behind bars. But of course we still root for Lauryn, hoping that one day she’ll make a real return to the industry. America loves a comeback kid. And however unlikely, I hope Ms. Hill can one day be that kid.