Lauryn Hill sentenced to three months in prison

Singer compared her situation to that of slave ancestors

Lauryn Hill has been sentenced to three months in prison for failing to pay around $1m in taxes over the past decade.

In addition to serving three months, Hill must pay a £39,000 ($60,000) fine. On release from jail, she will spend three months in home confinement and will be under parole supervision for a year.

Facing sentencing in court yesterday (May 6), Hill compared her own experience to the life of slavery her ancestors endured, reports Associated Press. “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,” she said. “I had an economic system imposed on me.” At the time of her arrest last year, Hill wrote a criticism of the entertainment business’ “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism”. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Moser called Hill’s explanation for her actions “a parade of excuses centering around her feeling put upon”.

Hill last year pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes on more than £1.16 million ($1.8 million) earned from 2005 to 2007. Yesterday’s sentencing also took into account unpaid state and federal taxes from 2008 and 2009, bringing to the total earnings to around £1.5 million ($2.3 million). Hill is reported to have paid £580,000 ($900,000) in the past several days, but still owes interest and penalties.

In court, occasionally drumming her fist against the podium as she spoke, Hill explained to the magistrate that that the taxes date back to a period in which she dropped out of the music business for the protection of herself and her children. Speaking about the period, she said: “There were veiled threats, there was blacklisting… I was told, ‘That’s how it goes, it comes with the territory.’ I came to be perceived as a cash cow and not a person. When people capitalise on a persona, they forget there is a person in there.”

Hill is to report to an unnamed prison on July 8.