The Emotional Implications of Lauryn Hill’s Mug Shot
There seems to be an entire spectrum of public attitudes toward Lauryn Hill. The extremes are incontestable Lauryn-Can-Do-No-Wrong fandom and the Lauryn-As-We-Know-Her-Is-Never-Coming-Back-And-We’re-Cool-With-It camp. A number of people seem to fall somewhere in the middle, vacillating between the warm swell of nostalgic appreciation they feel when a track from Miseducation plays and the uneasy concessions they make when she’s late to a gig, entitled with fans, or writing official statements about relationship status or tax evasion.
No matter where you stand, you can likely agree that time and circumstance have greatly altered Lauryn. This was hardly unexpected, as the 15 years between Miseducation and now have also yielded significant changes in us. We couldn’t have expected the years to preserve her the way we remembered her.
But few could’ve imagined, in 1998, that in 2012, Lauryn would be a mother of six, with zero additional studio albums released, facing prison time for three counts of misdemeanor failure to pay taxes between 2005 and 2007. Hill issued a lengthy statement via Tumblr about “going underground” to safeguard her family and protect their interests, wrapping with an explanation that she had every intent to pay up eventually:
My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.
News of possible prison time–to the tune of three years–saddened many, but it was the mug shot itself, released earlier this week, that really did me in.