Lauryn Hill’s legal woes are well-documented. In May, Hill was sentenced to three months in prison for tax evasion for failing to file tax returns in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Hill cited threats to her family as her reason for missing the payments.
In April, Hill addressed her tax problems via her Tumblr page, and has done so again in an expansive open letter, questioning not only the IRS, but the societal constructs of the United States.
The former Fugees member opened her letter with a discussion about reverse racism, and how, in her opinion, the concept is lacking context:
“The concept of reverse racism is flawed, if not absolutely ridiculous,” wrote Hill. “Most, if not all of the negative responses from people of color toward white people, are reactions to the hatred, violence, cruelty and brutality that they were shown by white people for centuries. Much of the foundation of the modern world was built on the forced free labor of black peoples. The African Slave Trade, the institution of slavery, colonialism, its derivative systems, and the multiple holocausts throughout history, where whites used race as the defining reason to justify their oppression, conquest, and brutal treatment of non-white peoples, are how race became such a factor to begin with.”
Lauryn continued on the subject, qualifying that there are many white people who are not “exploiting ill-gotten privilege or perpetuating the sins of their ancestors who used violence and deceit as a means to gain advantage over others.”
The letter transitioned to Lauryn’s IRS woes, with Hill writing that “America’s particular brand of hypocrisy is gross (double entendre).”
“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.”
To conclude her letter, Hill questioned the vicious cycle of the judicial system in the United States.
“Why would a system, ‘well intentioned’, wait until breakdown or incarceration to consider rehabilitation, after generations of institutionally inflicted trauma and abuse on a people? To me it is obvious that the accumulation of generational trauma and abuse have created the very behaviors the system tries to punish, by providing no sufficient outlets for the victims of institutional terror. Clearly, the institution seeks to hide its own criminal history at the expense and wholeness of the abused, who ‘acting out’ from years of abuse and mistreatment, reflect the very aggression that they were exposed to.”