With a rollicking, well-received pair of performances in NYC this weekend, Lauryn Hill seemed to have finally pulled it together.
Amid the hooplah over Nicki Minaj’s set that never was at Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert, there was also a good deal of internet clamoring over a seemingly happy and focused Lauryn Hill performing with Nas, and serving up a by-all-accounts amazing set at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan.
But all that hope and excitement turned to shock and dismay when news broke that Lauryn Hill is now in the crosshairs of the IRS; accused of tax evasion. If convicted, our beloved L-Boogie faces a $300,000 fine and significant time in prison.
Where in the bloody hell did it all go so very, very wrong?
As the Grio’s Veronica Miller astutely surmises, fame and bad relationships are the obvious culprits. Wyclef seems to have emotionally scarred her for life; and Rohan Marley had six kids with Ms. Hill without ever actually putting a damn ring on it (by the way, he’s currently engaged to a Brazilian model).
The overwhelming responsibility of being widely viewed as an artistic genius, sage, prophet, role model, and cultural icon at the age of 23 was something Lauryn clearly wanted no parts of, and her decade-long tailspin-slash-rejection of everything that made her famous and beloved is a testament to that.
But tax evasion? Does Ms. Hill not have an accountant? According to reports, she’s at the helm of four corporations. No one made sure this busy mother of six paid her taxes?
This was preventable, folks. A serious misstep for an intelligent woman like Lauryn Hill. And one that she can’t get out of with a brilliant rendition of “Killing Me Softly” or “Lost Ones,” either.
“All told, it’s reasonable that fans are still eager to forgive and reconcile with Ms. Hill. The trouble is, the IRS isn’t an eager fan. The feds are the one audience Lauryn Hill can’t win over with a song and a mea culpa. Here’s to hoping Ms. Hill starts making more sound decisions — or at least consulting with people who can help her do that — and fast.”
Where this goes is anyone’s guess. But I can’t help but feel maddeningly perplexed and disappointed by Lauryn Hill’s endless downward spiral. As D’Angelo’s fascinating interview with GQ suggests, being black, famous, and brilliant is no easy task.
In fact, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.