Lauryn Hill claps back at critics who called her ‘crazy’ for calling out systemic racism over a decade ago

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Hill told Rolling Stone that when she talked about race years ago, she wasn’t supported

Black Lives Matter may be a hot topic now but in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Lauryn Hill points out that when she attempted to highlight systemic racism years ago, many dismissed her as “crazy.”

The publication is currently putting together a series of podcasts for the albums being celebrated on its 500 Greatest Albums list. And its latest episode spotlights Hill and her classic 1998 debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

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Lauryn Hill performs on stage during day three of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 28, 2019 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

“All of my albums have probably addressed systemic racism to some degree before this was something this generation openly talked about,” she points out during the podcast interview. “I was called crazy. Now…over a decade later, we hear this as part of the mainstream chorus.”

“OK, so chalk some of it up to leadership and how that works — I was clearly ahead, but you also have to acknowledge the blatant denial that went down with that. The public abuse and ostracizing while suppressing and copying what I had done, (I protested) with still no real acknowledgment that all of that even happened, is a lot,” she notes. 

The 45-year-old also opened up about the initial backlash she received after leaving The Fugees, a response that former bandmate Wyclef Jean didn’t receive when he opted to do the same thing.

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“When I decided that I wanted to try a solo project, I was met with incredible resistance and discouragement from a number of places that should have been supportive,” she recalled. “It was less about proving myself and more about creating something I wanted to see and hear exist in the world.”

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