Lauryn Hill made headlines this week when her daughter Selah Marley shared concerning claims of abuse as a child.
In a now deleted live chat, the 21-year-old unpacked the “trauma” she felt defined her upbringing and the belt beatings at the hands of her “angry” Mom which she likened to “that slave *sh*t.”
Now, the ‘Doo-Wop’ singer is speaking up and out by way of a lengthy (and we mean lengthy) statement.
Her words below…
“Uhhhh black people, what??? Selah has every right to express herself, I encourage it, but she also got the discipline that black children get because we are held to a different standard. The discipline was seen through the lens of a young child who also had no place to reconcile me as mom, and me as a larger than life public figure. It took me a while to realize that my children, and probably everyone who knew me saw me in this duality. To me, I am just me. If I am guilty of anything it is disciplining in anger, not in disciplining. The toxic venom I ingested for standing on principle, and confronting systemic racism far BEFORE it was the thing to say or do (everything you NOW celebrate everyone for!)—the people who called me CRAZY and have yet to apologize and say ‘oh yeah, we were wrong’, OF COURSE that seeped into my home, it was intended to. An entire operation trying to break an artist with a voice and knowledge of herself—way ahead of her time—was in motion. I was affected, my family was affected, my children were affected.I discussed with Selah what it must have been like having a child while being hunted by nazis, or what it was like for the children of runaway slaves. The child just being a child puts her and everyone else’s lives in jeopardy. Keeping the child quiet to escape the danger is ALSO saving the child’s life! Imagine that. When I realized that the pressure on me was so incredibly hypocritical and unfair, criminal even, that even my children weren’t allowed to be children, I stepped away. I wasn’t removed, I STEPPED AWAY. Weening myself and my family from the addictions that systems of control attempt to use through fame and celebrity is no joke. It’s painful and people were not above using my children to keep exploiting me. Keeping a child sober minded in the midst of everyone trying to seduce and bribe and coerce is an incredibly challenging thing to do. Sell a few million copies of a recording and see the wolves and sharks for yourself before you determine what’s appropriate and what’s not. The danger was REAL! And this danger I faced alone, unsupported as I should have been, and dumped on by the same people who only a few years before built a fortune off the same gifts they later tried to deny and then COPY.My life has been about protecting my children from all kinds of danger, and that’s only possible when you protect yourself from the danger as well.Selah is on a road to healing and contextualizing her childhood, and is allowed her process, but if you come for me, come for your own mama, and those absent fathers—come for them too, your grandparents, your great grand parents, your great great grand parents, your great great great grand parents, Caribbean parents, African parents and everyone else damaged and judged for being black and forced to conform and assimilate to western standards of ‘order’ shaped through the filter and lens of anti-blackness.As my children mature they see the state of the world, before that, ALL they saw was me seemingly blocking the fun, not me aggressively blocking the trap.Selah and I speak often and she knows we are both working through our stuff—the exploitation, the abandonment, the mistreatment and the muzzling of our own gifts and intelligence to make it more comfortable for others, which is a big mistake to do, it can ONLY lead to implosion or explosion. We’re both learning and healing, and each of my children has a similar story and journey. All of you in a rush to crucify someone, careful who you string up or nail up. You might have an extremely limited view of the actual reality. We all hate abuse and exploitation, sometimes in an effort to fight against it we can easily become the abuser, the exploiter, and THIS is what we have to watch for. No one is exempt from needing to watch themselves in this way.My children are strong-willed and powerful, better I discipline them at home than have them shot down in the streets or locked up. They are not necessarily passive people, and they’re also learning how to navigate a world full of beauty but also full of danger. This was in no way easy to do as a single parent battling a public attack for not conforming, and single-handedly financially responsible for so many. My children’s families on both Hill and Marley sides have been hunted and persecuted for speaking out against and challenging the social, political, economic and spiritual dynamics that require a terroristic fear be put in Black people in order to control them. Expression is necessary for healing. People are quick to judge the content of Selah’s conversation without understanding the gravity of her life. There is so much more to the story than the pieces people try to glean, chop and screw and run with. If you’re one of these people under the illusion that money somehow simplifies life and solves all problems, look at the examples of Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Prince, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, Kurt Cobain, Marvin Gaye, Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, Nipsey Hussle, Juiceworld, Pop Smoke, Lil Peep, I could go on…Sometimes fame and money amplify not only problems but can magnify the darkest and most cruel and selfish qualities in humans. Greed, jealousy, envy, covetousness, violence, fear. People see someone who they think is powerful or has something they want and scan for the slightest vulnerability to exploit. Sometimes being successful at something is like walking around with a bullseye on your back and your children’s backs. Raising children and attempting to preserve their youth while also preparing them for such complicated circumstances is nothing short of walking a tight rope. It requires impeccable balance. Now why would anyone benefiting from exploiting instability want to see me master that balance? They wouldn’t.Could you imagine what the world would look like if someone said ‘hey, this or that artist has an addiction problem, or this one is being taken advantage of, how can we help?’ rather than turning it into news. I wonder who’d still be here today?”