Every now and then, some celebrity gets caught breaking the law and counts on his or her fame in getting off the hook, no matter how lame an excuse that’s given. That was the case with Grammy Award-winning hip hop singer Lauryn Hill, who in federal court on Monday compared her experience in the music business to the slavery her ancestors endured.
Nevertheless, U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo sentenced the liberal performer — who pleaded guilty to the tax evasion charge last year — to three months in prison for not paying $1 million in taxes over the past decade, as well as a $60,000 fine.
"I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them," the 37-year-old performer from South Orange, N.J., stated while occasionally pounding her fist on the podium. "I had an economic system imposed on me."
That “system” didn’t seem to treat her poorly when the singer earned more than $1.8 million from 2005 to 2007, in addition to unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009, which brought the total of earnings to approximately $2.3 million.
Hill recently posted this message on the Tumblr website regarding her situation:
I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye.
I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh weighed in on Hill’s use of the “slavery” defense during his Tuesday broadcast:
"She’s saying she shouldn’t have to pay taxes because her parents were slaves," the radio host noted.