Lauryn Hill: "Like Many Black People, I Work to Reconcile My Own Generational PTSD"

“To repress everything in the name of ‘getting along’ is to deny our right to healing.”
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Following accusations from celebrated jazz musician Robert Glasper that Ms. Lauryn Hill did not write and effectively stole the music to her seminal solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the artist penned an open letter addressing Glasper along with a slew of auxiliary critiques of Ms. Hill’s past behavior.

“I may have been inclusive, but these are my songs,” she wrote, essentially denying that Miseducation was anything other than her creative work. “I don’t think most people, perhaps not even some celebrated artists, are aware of the battle it takes to be an artist and remain true to what you really think.”

In the first arc of her letter, Ms. Hill openly touches on the pressures she felt and continues to feel as an artist with a family to support, something many of the writers DJBooth recently interviewed touched on when analyzing the public turn against Ms. Hill and her music.

“Like many Black people, I work to reconcile my own generational PTSD,” she continued. “I do my best to Love, pursue freedom in body, Spirit and mind… and to confront. To repress everything in the name of ‘getting along’ is to deny our right to healing.” 

Once again, these comments speak to the pressures our panel of writers identified, while simultaneously underscoring the importance of Miseducation as a record dedicated to unpacking love of self, of God, and of Blackness.

One of the most common critiques of Lauryn Hill, her tendencies to be late to shows or skip them altogether, is also tackled. “Me being late to shows isn’t because I don’t respect my fans or their time, but the contrary, it can be argued that I care too much, and insist on things being right,” she detailed.

“I like to switch my show up regularly, change arrangements, add new songs, etc,” Hill expanded. “This often leads to long sound checks, which leads to doors opening late, which leads to the show getting a late start. This element of perfectionism is about wanting the audience to experience the very best and most authentic musical experience they can from what I do.”

The full letter is expansive and well-written, touching on many questions fans and critics have been posing to Lauryn Hill for years. Though her legacy remains in tumult, her writing this letter is at least promise that Ms. Lauryn Hill has not fully checked out of music and of herself.

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