Today, Lauryn Hill is finding herself in some hot water, and it’s not because of her tax evasion, its coming from her fans after they discovered some anti-gay and suggestively homophobic lyrics to her latest song titled, Neurotic Society. Upon further analysis of the song, the song implies that society is being overran be gender bending effeminate men and is leading to our downfall. Though some analysts have tried to find alternative meanings to who exactly Hill is confronting with the the aggressive lyrics but there is little more to infer from them.
The meaning of the song came under more scrutiny as a reporter for BET.com, Dr. Monica Miller analysed the song released days before Hill was sent to federal prison for three months for failure to pay her taxes. Here’s what Miller had to say:
Whether or not Hill is merely using these comments as examples of the smokescreens and sleight-of-hands that pervade this “Neurotic Society” is unclear. Beyond intention, these sorts of statements suggest that society is in a shambles because it’s been taking too many cues from the LGBTQ community, acting like “girl men,” “drag queens” and “transvestites.” Is her beef with oppressive society or is her issue with people who don’t abide by a traditional family structure?
On a more personal note, I have been a fan of Lauryn Hill for as long as she has had a viable career in music. She has a raw talent that is rare and so ethereal that before all this, her message really spoke to me. What was once a message of understanding the paradigms that can consume us and our society seem to have had such an extremist effect on Lauryn, thereby she now feels she has to label anything she doesn’t see in her vision of truth, and that makes me the enemy.
At first when I heard the song Neurotic Society I admit that I didn’t listen to the words or what they implied because I stopped halfway through. It was all spoken word and did not resemble the voice that I fell in love with all those years ago. But reading the lyrics today, I do not recognize the empress of freedom fighting lyricist that I had come accustomed to in my earlier youth. What was in place was an extremist that seemed to be blaming the world’s problems (and her own) on everyone else, most notably the LGBT community, my community.
It was suggestive of us being the reason that the world is falling apart much like the racist of yesteryear (and still to this day) for the downfall of society. All because of African Americans, another community that I belong to, are becoming more successful and recognized in society. It felt so hypocritical and it hurt to see someone who you’ve admired for so long be so passionate about calling you a sinner. There’s no way for me to see an adequate defense of what she wrote in these lyrics:
We’re living in a joke time, metaphorical coke time
Commerce and girl men
Run the whole world men
Whole world run savagely
Greedy men and pride fiends
Program TV screens
Quick scam and drag queens
Real life’s been blasphemed
Think twice its past dream
Other than having a misguided ideal of what a man is, these lyrics are highly suggestive that men cannot be feminine which is at best misogyny and at worst blatant homophobia. It stings to have someone you’ve admired for so long be so demeaning about everything you are. It took me years to process what it means for me to be both an African American and a gay man in our society, so I cannot and will not defend this confrontational homophobia disguised as liberal freedom fighting against oppression.
She’s subscribing to the same rhetoric that racists partake in when calling us names and saying we’re all the same when we are not. Claiming the need to save our souls while their own seems to be in perpetual turmoil and delusion. How can she save us when she can’t even save herself is the first question she should think about. it cheapens the perspective that she once was so clear in presenting, but all I can hear is anger and ignorance. In my opinion, this scenario is no different a racist that calls for attention. I’d rather her just say it rather than try (and fail) at being clever.
We have been judged and bullied to death, both figuratively and literally because of we you are. With as smart and insightful as she herself claims to be, you’d think she’d be able to see the similarities instead of adding to tension of two communities differences that does nothing but separate. How can someone promote freedom while oppressing another? I’ve supported this artist for her unbelievable talents for almost two decades but sadly that has ended today. The beauty I once believed to be so rare and talent I believed so unique and progressive has faded to nothing more than grandstanding.
I will always support freedom Lauryn, freedom of expression and voice and the ability to illustrate our innate talents in whatever fashion someone sees fit. But I will never support hate, and what your definition stands for because it is no longer a message, it’s hate.