Lauryn Hill: On Her Own Terms

Lauryn Hill (Johnny Nunez/Getty Images)
Lauryn Hill (Johnny Nunez/Getty Images)

Everyone should cut Lauryn Hill some slack, Alexandra Phanor-Faury writes at Ebony magazine. The singer is making culturally relevant music and working at a comfortable, healthy pace.

While she may be free from captivity today, Hill was always free-minded. Carving out her own path sans regard to public opinion was her constant modus operandi. While many were drawn to her music, behind that powerful voice was always a courageous and independent chocolate naturalista beauty who refused to play it safe on every level. And she spoke to many of us.

It was that fearlessness that gave birth to her seminal solo debut, 1998's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. ('98?! Damn.) A brave Hill eschewed R&B and hip-hop's fixation with materialism, sex and violence, instead lacing spirituality, self-esteem, love and feminism into her songwriting. And at the height of her career, her decision to jump off the celebrity gravy train, stop recording music and step away from public life to focus on raising her children and re-evaluating her life may have been regarded as foolish and risky. Too few respected her for it.

Like the rest of the world, I've been waiting impatiently for new material. But I grew to accept that Hill owes us—her fans—nothing. Especially if it means she'd be sacrificing her health and happiness to give us what we wanted.

Read Alexandra Phanor-Faury's entire piece at Ebony magazine. 

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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