All Articles Tagged "lauryn hill"

Lauryn Hill And The Question Of What Responsibilities Do Artists Have To Their Audiences?

October 2nd, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Writer Stefan Schumacher is so over Lauryn Hill, he had to write an essay about it.

More specifically, in the essay aptly entitled, “It’s Finally Time To Stop Caring About Lauryn Hill,” Schumacher talks about being a lifelong fan of the former Fugees member and falling out of love with her, particularly over her inability to appreciate the fans, especially those who pay to see her in concert.

He writes in part:

I wanted to see Ms. Hill, but something just didn’t sit right with me about paying that much for an artist who hasn’t produced anything of relevance in almost two decades. Not to mention her reputation for being an inconsistent and unreliable performer—canceling shows, coming on stage hours late, passing out.

It occurred to me that, as great as Miseducation and The Fugees’ The Score are, they’re part of a distant past. Lauryn Hill was a great artist. She’s not anymore and it’s time we stop holding her in that regard, waiting for her to pay off on a promise that’s long since expired.

In addition to her poor showmanship at shows, Schumacher isn’t much of a fan of her recent releases either. In fact, he hated her new song, “Black Rage,” which was a formerly unreleased song Hill shared with fans to speak on the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri. He said of the track, “Her singing is thin and uneven and the recording is of poor quality.” You can listen to it here, but personally I don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, it’s probably the best Lauryn Hill we have heard since her debut album. And I mean that sincerely.

Nevertheless, Hill’s inability to duplicate or even maintain any semblance of mainstream success has left Schumacher with questions. Lots of them. An article filled with them in fact:

“What is she doing with her time? How many kids does she have? Is she broke? Will she return to her former glory? What was with that strange acoustic set she did for MTV back in… whenever that was, 2002?”

“Who does one album that sells six million copies in the U.S. alone and another that sells eight million, and then just stops?”

“Remember when Lauryn was winning all those Grammys that year in that white pant suit (1999)?”

“Do we long for DMX’s return to glory? Are we desperate for reunions of Outkast and Black Star, neither of which have made albums in years?”

“Making obligatory appearances for your charitable organization is equivalent to slavery?”

“Did you forget about me?”

Honestly, his inquiry into why Hill has become such a musical disappointment to him (and other tangents) are boundless and apparently unanswerable.

Despite that, he vows:

So I’m leaving Ms. Hill alone. Not because I’m hoping she’ll be back, but because she’s no longer worth waiting on. She has two classic albums under her belt, but she’s more of a memorable flash in the pan than a legend. She used to be great. I used to love her. But not anymore.

Poor Schumacher. And not because he has lost his musical muse, but because, as they say, he done stepped in it now. So much so that rapper Talib Kweli decided to spit some wax poetry of his own in an equally long and flowery piece entitled In Defense of Ms. Hill, in which he argues that Hill is an artist, and as an artist, her first obligation is to deliver an honest expression of her art – despite the desires of her fans.

More specifically he writes:

The great thing about making art for yourself is that if you do it well, millions of people will relate to it and embrace it. They will support you and make it possible for you to have a career and feed your family, all with your art. These are your fans, and their passion, dedication and contribution to your life are to be cherished and respected.

However fans are not your boss, and listening to them when it comes to creative decisions is a slippery slope. I am not obligated to make the same album over and over again just because fans demand it. I am allowed to try new things, succeed at them or fail at them. I am allowed to not make music anymore ever, if that’s what I choose to do. I am allowed to give a sh**ty show or not even show up if I feel like it. Hopefully that will never happen, but if it does, it will never take away from the quality of the work I’ve already put out into the world.

Interesting debate here. And as always, I implore you to read both essays – in addition to this one – to get a clearer understanding of the debate. I will say that I am personally least interested in both of their arguments when it comes to the validity of calling Hill a legend. Like many “great” lists beforehand, this conversation is subjective and not very interesting. And while Kweli might personally still see value in Hill as an artist, Schumacher is well within his right as the receiver of an art to make the determination based on personal appeal.

However, I believe that both sides do raise some interesting and valid points about the responsibility an artist has to his or her fans. As Kweli rightly noted, an artist’s first responsibility is to their art. Period. As a daily columnist, I fully understand the necessity of having the space to explore topics and opinions, which sometimes are contrary to long ingrained public beliefs and thoughts of both society as well as my personal identities as a black woman. I also see the necessity in exploring topics and expressing opinions in places folks feel I am not entitled to. Sometimes the reactions I get bother me, but regardless of how ridiculous they are at times, I still can’t allow the negative responses to sway the way the ball of my pen swerves.

Besides, who wants to read an inauthentic writer?

I am a firm believer that within those spaces of great debate and uncertainty is where innovation happens. And I am quite comfortable with the fact that even if folks don’t agree with me, I like to think that I at least made folks think and challenged a few perceptions of things in the process. That’s what I strive for anyway. And that is what I truly believe makes one a good writer and artist in general. So if Schumacher doesn’t like her new stuff, well, that’s too bad for him, but not necessarily for her or for music in general. I mean, we all know the music scene has changed significantly since Hill first arrived on the scene, so who is to say how another Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album would be received right now? And wouldn’t that be much worse than her putting out new, albeit, different music? Since Schumacher likes ruminating so much, let him answer those questions.

With that said, if I don’t turn in these little trinkets of innovation in some semblance of “on-time,” I’m not going to get published and paid for my work. And rightfully so. I mean, I would love it if folks would just hand me money because they thought I was great and all, but I also understand that those who pay me for my craft want me to actually deliver something. And that is where I believe Schumacher has a major point.

If it is truly about the art for some artists, then they should host free shows and performances where they are free to come at whatever time and junction they want. However, thanks to capitalism, not too many artists can afford to live like that. That’s why we sell our work. And while the act of selling ourselves and our talent does not entitle people to shape who you are, it does carry with it some responsibilities – one of them being to be considerate enough of the people who are making it possible for you to eat and pay off some bills. I’m just saying….

In The Wake Of The Unrest In Ferguson, Lauryn Hill Releases Brilliant Song, “Black Rage”

August 21st, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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AP Images

AP Images

As the unrest in Ferguson continues (though it was a more peaceful evening last night according to reports), Lauryn Hill has decided to speak on the situation in a way she does best–through song.

Through Soundcloud, Hill released an unreleased track that she recorded a long time ago, in her living room, called “Black Rage.” She has performed it at shows in the past, but didn’t put it out for the public, as it’s something of a demo, or “sketch” as she puts it. Seeing the anguish caused by the killing of Michael Brown, she thought it would be fitting to finally share the song. This is what she had to say on Twitter about it:

“An old sketch of Black Rage, done in my living room. Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO. – MLH”

I know you’re probably thinking that with Hill’s unpredictable output, criticized performances, changing voice and the reception to “Neurotic Society” after she was released from jail, this song might be all over the place. It’s not at all. Putting her own twist on “My Favorite Things,” Hill gives a detailed background on why things like the protests in Ferguson are happening, and why folks are so fed up. Police brutality, a poor economy, imprisonment and more, as Hill puts it, “black rage is founded on wounds in the soul.”

I didn’t know what to expect from the song when I hit play, but I’m glad I did. This is the type of music and message we need right now. Social commentary at its finest…and it’s uptempo (well, sort of)!

Take a look at the lyrics and check out the song for yourself below.

Black Rage

You’ll Never Guess Whose Cute Kid This Is…

July 23rd, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Lauryn Hill's son and Rohan

WENN

This young man is Zion Marley, Lauryn Hill’s son with Rohan Marley. If you’ll recall, on her iconic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, L-Boogie wrote a song for her first-born called “To Zion.” In it, she talked about the worries she had and the pressure put on her by industry folks when she became pregnant, and the joy she felt after Zion came into the world. Hill also said that her pregnancy helped her come out of writer’s block, so we have Zion to thank for that classic album! But that was back in 1998 (the year the album was released). Zion Marley is now 16 (and will turn 17 next month) and looks exactly like his father and his grandfather, Bob Marley. Zion recently traveled to Brazil with his father for the World Cup, and Rohan shared those images on his social media. You can check those out, as well as more images of Lauryn’s oldest child, below and on the next page.

Lauryn Hill Goes Off On Fan After Starting Concert Nearly An Hour Late

July 23rd, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Perhaps Lauryn Hill has forgotten that respect resides on a two-way street. The legendary songstress performed at the House of Blues in Chicago last week. However, instead of sending fans home feeling inspired and uplifted, some left with quite a sour taste in their mouths. According to TMZ, the “Killing Me Softly” singer took the stage 10 minutes shy of an hour before the performance was actually scheduled to begin. To make matters worse, sources say that Ms. Hill’s opening performance wasn’t so good. After hearing one song, a fan began to express his frustration. It’s unclear what the fan said or how disrespectful he got, but when Lauryn caught wind of his remarks, she lectured him about being respectful and demanded that security have him removed from the venue.

“When I get up on this stage, don’t be disrespectful,” Lauryn said. “You could go. No seriously, you can go. Please refund him back his money. If a little patience is too much, it’s alright. You can go. I would prefer that. You not gonna mess up my vibe for the rest of these people. You not gonna do that! You can get up, you can get your money refunded and you can go. I’m alright with that. I’m okay with that.”

Then, Lauryn began calling for security.

“Excuse me, excuse me, there’s a gentlemen over there who just did something I don’t like. Can you please escort him out and refund him his money? I don’t play that. I don’t need to win you over and you don’t need to win me over. You can go and you can take all of your money right back, it’s alright. I do this because I love it—not because I owe you anything. You understand that? I do this because I love it. You can get on your blogs and you can tweet and say whatever you want to. I don’t give a rat’s a–. Give that man his money back. I wanna point this gentlemen out for you. Security, security, you see this man right here sitting with his girl with the screw face on? Give him back his money please. Let him go.”

Another fan who attended the concert expressed that the remainder of Lauryn’s concert was as mediocre as the opening song; however, that may not necessarily serve as a reflection of how the rest of the concertgoers felt. As previously, stated we don’t know exactly what the fan did to set Lauryn off. Personally, I believe that with the same passion Lauryn so adamantly demanded respect from that fan, she should be just as passionate about giving her fans that same respect. Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Tim Allen Used To Be A Drug Dealer!? Celebs We Were Surprised To See Had Run-Ins With The Law

July 3rd, 2014 - By Whitney Larkins
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Behind all of the glitz and glamour, some of Hollywood’s most talented and well-known people have found themselves caught up in legal turmoil. And while that’s not a surprise, we didn’t expect to see these specific individuals in handcuffs and posing for mug shots. Here are 15 celebrities who we never thought would have run-ins with the law over the years.

"Porsha Williams pf"

Source: WENN

Porsha Williams

An arrest warrant for Porsha Williams was issued after she put her hands on resident troublemaker and co-star, Kenya Moore, at the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion taping. Williams quickly turned herself in to Atlanta law enforcement for her glamorous mug shot. She was charged with assault and rumors swirled that Porsha would not be returning for another season of the show, due to the fight. But the joke is on us! Porsha has recently confirmed that she will be back for what will surely be a drama-filled season seven.

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: 10 Super Reclusive Celebs Who Like To Stay Out Of The Spotlight

June 4th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you’re looking for them, many of the people on this list can’t be found on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram. They’re reclusive. They don’t like to talk a whole lot and they don’t like to come out of the house for the parties, dinners and things that many of your current favorites put on designer threads for. These uber-talented people like to live privately, keeping their business on the low low and allowing their art to speak for them. Maybe that’s why we like them so much? Here are 10 famous folks known for being reclusive.

WENN

WENN

D’Angelo

Only D’Angelo could step out of the spotlight after releasing his classic debut album, Brown Sugar, come back with the tightest set of abs for Voodoo, step back out and gain a smooth 100 pounds (which we only found out because he got arrested), drop the weight, and return as if all of this never happened. D’Angelo did some touring last year and talked about his music in Brooklyn last month for the Red Bull Music Academy, but for the most part, he weaves in and out of the spotlight, leaving fans in suspense about his next move (like when a third album is coming out!).

Cute! Lauryn Hill’s Oldest Daughter, Selah, Performs “Doo Wop (That Thing)” Alongside Her Mom In Melbourne

May 28th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Lauryn Hill's daughter Selah

When your mother is Lauryn Hill and your grandfather is Bob Marley, there’s no way you can avoid being gifted in some way. And while we’ve seen Lauryn Hill’s daughter, Selah Marley, try her hand at modeling when she posed for Teen Vogue a few years ago, we can also see that Hill’s look-a-like oldest daughter can hold a note too.

While performing in Melbourne, Australia last week, Hill tore the house down with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and near the end, brought 15-year-0ld Selah with her waist-length braids out to sing too. She wasn’t afraid to take on the chorus with the background singers supporting her, and Selah sounded great! Definitely an adorable mother and daughter moment that we love to see, and we know Hill is all about her kids, and likes to bring them on-stage to shine alongside her when she performs. Lucky!

Check out the video for yourself below, courtesy of Black Celeb Kids. While it’s short, it’s definitely sweet. You can also check out more pics of Selah, who is growing up fast, on the next page.

Smarty Pants: Famous Black Women You Didn’t Know Attended Ivy League Schools

May 27th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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With all the stories in the news about young men and women around the country beating the odds and being accepted in a handful of Ivy leagues schools (we love those stories!), we thought we’d show some love to all the ladies who attended Ivy League colleges over the years (including Brown, UPenn, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, and Cornell–none tried Princeton). Not every woman on the list was able to graduate (some left to pursue surefire opportunities in the fields they majored in), but kudos to them for getting accepted in and being able to walk the halls of the “ancient eight” schools at one time or another.

And before you check me, everyone already knows Michelle Obama attended Princeton and Harvard, so that’s the only reason her fabulous self isn’t on this list. Enjoy!

Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

Aisha Tyler

The funny lady and co-host of the CBS show The Talk attended Dartmouth. She obtained her degree in environmental policy (very far from the comedic work she does now), and was very involved in campus activities. She was part of the co-fraternity, The Tabard, and started an all-female acapella group called The Dartmouth Rockapellas.

The Jigga Effect: Women Jay Z Helped Put On

April 4th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Women Jay Z Helped

Source: WENN

Jay Z went from being a Brooklyn drug dealer to a rapper to a business mogul worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Though some might consider the Bed-Sty native crude and self-serving, once upon a time he didn’t have a problem helping a few ladies climb the ladder to success right along with him — or at least climb the charts for a few weeks. In case you didn’t know, here’s a list of women Jay Z helped put on throughout his career.

For more on Jay Z, check out A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized story of Jay Z.

No Wyclef, No Cry! Wyclef Jean’s Accountant Says “There Ain’t No Money” Is His Bank Account

March 27th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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WENN

WENN

The legal troubles are deep and wide for former Fugees members. It looks like Lauryn Hill is not the only one catching heat for what she owes.

Wyclef Jean’s former lawyers filed a six-figure legal judgment because he failed to make payments to help reduce his debt. Despite the lawsuit, Jean’s business manager had some unfortunate news for the musician’s lawyers: Wyclef Jean is broke.

According to The Smoking Gun, Jean’s accountant stated in a January e-mail to creditors: “There ain’t no money.”

According to reports, other records note both federal and state authorities have notified Jean of his $2.9 million tax liens during mid-2012. Currently, this amount remains outstanding. Based on information received from the New York State Supreme Court filings, Wyclef Jean agreed to pay the law firm of firm Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman a settlement of $100,000 to resolve his outstanding bill of $133,000.

Jean was required to pay $10,000 by August 1, 2013 and $50,000 at the end of the year. If he made those two payments, the law firm would have waived the remaining $40,000. Records show Jean failed to make those payments and the law firm concluded he would have to pay the entire $100,000, plus ten percent annual interest.

Due to his defunct payments, the Shukat law firm filed another $102,027.40 judgment against Wyclef. Prior to filing the judgment, the law firm notified Jean’s business manager again. Jean’s accountant David Levin told them to proceed with the filing because once again he noted: “In my most professional verbiage…there ain’t no money.”

This is not the first incident where Wyclef Jean has been called out for money issues. When he announced his candidacy to be the President of his home country of Haiti, the IRS came after him with $2.1 million dollars in tax liens. Also the charity for Haiti’s Earthquake Relief Aide supposedly funded the singer and his lavish lifestyle.

Are you surprised about Wyclef Jean’s money problems?