Selah Marley, daughter of singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill, set the Web ablaze when she opened up about her challenging childhood that she claims was marred mostly by abuse suffered at the hands of her GRAMMY-winning mother (as we reported here).
Referring to the physical disciplined dispensed as “some slavery sh*t,” the 21-year-old’s reflection on the traumatic experiences landed on the desk of Hill who, in response, took to social media to defend her actions (click here to read more).
To offer additional context and explanation, the ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’ diva returned to social media over the weekend (August 16) to not only revisit Selah’s comments but also suggest the two’s relationship was on the mend.
Look inside to see the lengthy post.
1. The Terminator
2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 version)
For some context, Selah is talking about a particular period of her childhood. I did not always spank, I did not always spank in anger either. I am remorseful for dealing with any of my children in anger, and I’m sorry any of them had to go through that. What I am illustrating is that we were all thrown into a very dangerous situation, and I did my best to get us out of it with as little trauma as possible. The entire experience was traumatic for ALL of us, we were all traumatized, and I am telling you that traumatizing US was done on purpose with the intent to harm us. I am explaining the dynamic, not for Selah, but for people who watched her IG and made snap judgements without context. Selah and I speak often, and she knows that my life then and since then, has been one of repair and overloading her with the wisdom I learned in an effort to get her to avoid the same mistakes.
Let’s recall that when I was a young mother I was being gaslighted PUBLICLY for standing up to the system. In addition to this, there was a coup d’ etat being staged FROM INSIDE, to try and label me crazy, for the purpose of controlling me, my children, and my ESTATE. This was nothing but greed and selfishness at work. I wasn’t 45, I was in my early 20’s, with young babies and NO ONE to trust. We are all talking about mental health NOW, back then I was called crazy, accused of being on crack, (I don’t even drink alcohol) and my friends were being enticed to betray me for money and promotion so an entire takeover could occur.
Wherever I sought help, the HELP, was either bribed or threatened NOT to help. It took me years of fighting through manipulation, blacklisting, spiritual attack, violence, and aggression towards my own physical person to get my family to a safer place. This went on for years. Notice, I don’t talk to the press and haven’t done an interview since the controversy began. This is because I didn’t trust that what I had to say (pointing out the dangers of the system) was relatable, or would be explained properly through a 24 hour news media cycle that desperately needs a story, and is also a part of that system. I respected that some still tried to hold on to journalistic principle, but that the draw and the suck to make controversy because controversy sells, was becoming too strong for people to resist. I knew, however, that a time would come when I would be healed enough, strong enough, and my children out of harm’s way enough, to set things straight. Let’s be clear, I do not think that physical discipline is the solve. I was physically disciplined by parents who interpreted the Bible literally and did what their parents did, thinking that it was the best thing for me. I had to find something new, but before I could find that new tool, I used the old tool, and found it ineffective for my children. If a child is violently running into the street, best believe that you have to restrain that child with enough physical force to prevent them from hurting themselves or someone else. Not crushing force, but enough to stop the danger from happening. With the wolves at my door, and the buzzards flying overhead, I had to become mother AND father. I am 5’5” and an artist. To make the kind of art I make one has to be extremely vulnerable and sensitive, raw even. To protect from the absolute rampant exploitation that was at my door, one has to be stoic and a brick house. I did my best working towards the balance for my children—to exhaustion. Sometimes I had to be the strength, and couldn’t let up because the attack was relentless and IT wouldn’t let up. Let’s be very clear, this was an attack with the absolute intent of BREAKING me AND BREAKING my children. If you didn’t get that from my first post, read deeper.
I woke up at some point last night and the TV was on, Terminator 2 was playing. The figure of Sarah Connor resonated HARD with me. For those who’ve seen it, recall that Sarah learns of her important destiny and the important destiny of her son in the first Terminator, and she is hunted by a nearly indestructible machine/cyborg. In the second Terminator, she’s a muscled warrior who’s been locked up in a mental institution for sharing what she KNOWS to be true, but people on the inside are covering up. The time she does have with her son, John Connor, she does her best to prepare HIM for his daunting destiny. She struggles with how much vulnerability she can show him because she fears it will undermine the strength he needs to survive the impossible. He is destined to lead the revolution to save humanity. This of course is metaphor, but extremely relevant regarding the kind of dynamic that was often necessary between myself and my children. My children were vulnerable for no other reason than who they were, who their parents were. Before they could learn to talk, heaps and heaps of unfair expectations were piled high on top their heads. All of this had to be dismantled so they could ‘just grow’. The machine, however, wasn’t letting me out that easily. For those who haven’t seen the first 2 Terminator films and are interested, watch them. We are overlooking the fact that I REMAIN a voice and example of reason, clarity and dissent (when necessary) during a time of GREAT AND WIDESPREAD social manipulation. We are also overlooking the fact that this generation of young people are dying at an alarming rate. The young artists I mentioned, most of them in some way, shape, or form have been sacrificed to greed! Using addiction as a tool to control, entice, entrap is serious as hell and it’s happening. An addiction doesn’t just need to be about drugs, it can be an addiction to anything that creates a ‘false sense’ of euphoria and security but leaves you vulnerable and powerless, and has a destructive impact on your life. I also agree that physical discipline of the black variety is absolutely a throw back of slavery and it’s need to terroristically control black people.
The problem is we are against the gun, and the gun! I am a mother of 6, each of my children has a different personality, different issues, I had to become a master psychologist, provider, protector and warrior in the space of a few years, while a new, young, mother. If I didn’t have the help of young and older women to watch my children while I did battle, I’m not sure what the outcome would have been. When people keep moving the goal
posts, and start trying to control what you earn SO that they CAN create instability in order to control you, you are in the thick of it, learning how to battle a machine with centuries of practice in treachery. As my children mature and get more clarity, they will see ohhh kaaayyyy, my mother was not my enemy, she was embattled, and trying her best to protect us from something insidious and diabolical. Whitney is not here to tell her story, in fact many artists struggle with telling their story because people have this notion that only people without money corner the market on difficulty. My BEAUTIFUL, STRONG AND COURAGEOUS daughter and I texted earlier today, and I shared the plot of the Terminator movies with her. She responded, ‘yeah, the world is a nasty place, I guess you protected me from it so much I didn’t realize how ugly it was.’ BOOM! To which I responded, the world isn’t all nasty, but there is nastiness in it. There is also beauty, and love, and THAT’S what we keep fighting for and fighting to restore. These are HARD lessons, and not easy for anyone. This dialogue is long overdue in our community, in particular, as we develop the language to heal the INTENTIONAL wounds inflicted upon us and sustained by subtle, and not-so-subtle but insidious attacks on our psyches, our ability to vocalize our issues, and our families’ absolute rights to live, grow, make mistakes and evolve—-without being crucified. I will GLADLY allow people to TRY and villainize and misunderstand me so that the healing dialogue/elixir of complex and nuanced truth can go forth. I know who I am and I know what I’ve done. We can all pretend like this generation could always easily discuss the problems we now face and discuss more openly, but I’m hyper clear that we could not, and that SOMEONE had to take those first blows to jumpstart what we should have been able to do all along. And for the record, my house wasn’t just filled with my 6 children, but with scores of their friends and family who found moments of solace, levels of freedom, and even some correction at my house. Both Selah and I have sought out different forms of therapy, the challenge is always in finding someone who can actually understand and properly address such a unique and complex set of circumstances. I found some great professionals later in life. For Selah, we are rigorously looking, and she’s had sessions with someone I work with and hopefully will continue to.
As for parenting alone, that’s another discussion. I could throw tons of blame, but instead I’m trying to explain, not EXCUSE, but explain the dynamics that produced such happenings. It is often not until crisis strikes that people are shown themselves, and you, shown them. The point is there was serious trauma that was triggered and exposed through crisis. Mothers, as they so often do, and some fathers, have to step up and find a way even when it seems like there is no way to persevere. I can count on no hands the amount of people I know who survived what I went through, and can still find some space to love, give, share, still be vulnerable and create. I, like my daughter, saw the world with hopeful, rose-colored glasses, thanks to parents who did their best to allow me a childhood. I shared that love in the songs I made that touched and yes, helped raise a generation. My parents had no lesson book for raising or helping a child star. Everyone was thrown into the deep end. I am grateful, despite the betrayals, despite the pain, despite the trauma, that I am here today to tell the story. Trust and believe that the ‘machine doesn’t like that’, but I speak STILL. These are MY words, not written for me. I love my children and we are all working towards wholeness, fullness, restoration and healing. It is a process, and each of their processes will look different. My daughter is courageous and doing her best to grow and heal deep wounds and understand the world around her, LIKE WE ALL ARE. Selah was talking about a prolonged period of crisis and how she was deeply affected. My apologies go to my children for not protecting myself better, SO THAT I COULD protect them better. I have since learned volumes on why and how I will never allow the world to scapegoat me again.
I chose to be an artist, and I made work that catapulted me to stardom, I didn’t choose to be a star, nor did I choose to be a scape goat or a door mat or a kicking post for people who think that’s somehow an artist’s job. No place in my contract did I agree to any of that, but it was probably in there with invisible ink! When you become famous so young, you have to LEARN how to defend yourself. You have no idea you’re being fattened for the slaughter, some never see it until it is too late. Once I learned what the business of art and commerce had the potential to be, I withdrew and sought out a different path. That path was carved out with my blood, my sweat and my tears, for the purpose of creating a space for freedom that my children would be able to inherit. They’re growing into that truth and learning just how truly rare that space is.