MTV Unplugged: Lauryn Hill
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Lauryn Hill Addresses Robert Glasper’s Claims That She Stole Music From His "Friends"

"I’ve remained patient and quiet for a very long time."

Lauryn Hill is defending her art after musician Robert Glasper claimed that she stole the music for her critically-acclaimed debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

On Monday (Aug. 27), the typically private Ms. Hill published a lengthy rebuttal to Glasper’s allegations, along with addressing other rumors that seem to have been weighing heavily on her mind. “I’ve remained patient and quiet for a very long time, allowing people to talk, speculate, and project, while keeping my nose to the grindstone fighting for freedoms many folks aren’t even aware matter,” Hill wrote in an essay published on Medium.

“The arrogance of presumption that allows someone to think that they could have all the facts about another person’s life and experience, is truly and remarkably… presumptuous.

“People can sometimes confuse kindness for weakness, and silence for weakness as well,” she continues. “When this happens, I have to speak up. I apologize for the delay in getting this posted, I was late in hearing about it. I understand this is long, but my last interview was over a decade ago.”

Earlier in the month, Glasper told a Houston radio station that Hill stole music from his “friends,” mistreated him and other band members, and refused to be addressed by anything other than “Ms. Hill.” For the record, this isn’t the first time that Hill has dealt with rumors about her music. Shortly after The Miseducation was released in 1998, a collective of musicians known as New Ark sued Hill and her record label for writing and production credits on 13 of the album’s 14 tracks. At the time Hill -- then 23 years old -- said that she felt “betrayed” by the lawsuit. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2001, but as Hill made clear in her latest recusal, there is only one architect of her “creative expression.”

“You may be able to make suggestions, but you can’t write FOR me. I am the architect of my creative expression,” she proclaims in the essay. “No decisions are made without me. I hire master builders and masterful artisans and technicians who play beautifully, lend their technical expertise, and who translate the language that I provide into beautifully realized music.”

Hill also explains that The Miseducation was her first time woking with "musicians outside of the Fugees and admits that she may not have "established necessary boundaries," and may have been "mored inviting" that she should have been. To that end, Hill denies constantly firing band members and cutting their pay without "a legitimate reason."  Speaking directly to Glasper’s recollection of a hellish weeklong rehearsal, Hill likened the period to “readying myself for the battle I knew I was entering into for simply not allowing a system to pimp me. If I was on edge, I had good reason to be.”

“Perhaps my seriousness and militancy in the face of tremendous resistance was misinterpreted as meanness, or that I was unloving or uncaring, when my true intent was to protect,” Hill adds. “I wouldn’t be the first Black person accused of this. I don’t think of Harriet Tubman’s skills as those of a hostess, but rather her relentless dedication to helping people who wanted out of an oppressive paradigm. #IGETOUT."

The mother of six also squashed what an “urban legend” about her disdain for white people. Hill said that she doesn’t “hate” white people, but she does despise “a system of entitlement and oppression” designed to “exploit” marginalized groups. “The lengthy history of unfairness and brutality towards people of color, especially Black people, has not been fully acknowledged or corrected.”

Hill's essay may be framed around Glasper, but she goes even deeper in taking on personal issues like the praise that her debut LP receives. “The Miseducation was my only solo studio album, but it certainly wasn’t the only good thing I did.”

Click here to read the full essay.

READ MORE: What Lauryn Hill’s Iconic ‘Miseducation’ Album Means To Black Women

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Michigan Man Awarded $1.5 Million After Serving 46 Years On A Wrongful Conviction

When Richard Philips was 27-years-old, he was found guilty of dragging a man named Gregory Harris out of his car and shooting him to death. Harris' brother-in-law corroborated the story and told investigators he met with Philips in a local bar to discuss the murder.

Yet despite the statement from the victim's relative, Philips maintained his innocence. It wasn't enough, however, and Philips went onto spend 46 years in prison.

Then in 2010, Richard Polombo came forward and admitted to the killing. It would be another four years before the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan's law school heard Polombo's confession, and another three in legal proceedings before Philips was granted a new trial in 2017.

In March of 2018, Philips was a free man. CNN reports that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has awarded Philips $1.5 million, $50,000 for each year he was imprisoned. The money will not be taxed and Philips won't lose any of it in lawyer fees.

In 1990, Philips began painting to "to stave off loneliness," and began selling his artwork in prison to fellow inmates. The money he made went into purchasing more supplies. Philips' watercolor paintings echoed themes of hope and survival.

Now, at 73 years old, Philips rents a small apartment and hopes to buy a home with his money. For now, he's enjoying life's simple pleasures and along with his new home, he says he also wants a German Shepherd puppy.

"He is pretty well-adjusted. He says that he is not bitter," Gabi Silver, Philips' attorney said.

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Facebook Bans Maryland Artist For Turning 'MAGA' Hats Into Klan Hood And Swastika

A Maryland artist says her livelihood is in jeopardy after Facebook banned her page prohibiting her from contacting her followers of upcoming art shows. The offense? Turning Donald Trump's 'MAGA' hats into Ku Klux Klan hoods and Swastikas.

Kate Kretz says she rips apart the well-known red Make America Great Again hat and turns them into other divisive symbols. While speaking with WUSA 9, she said her art is meant to start a dialogue.

"The armband is actually titled, 'Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,' and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats because they’re afraid of violence," Kretz said. "It’s not really up to the wearer to say 'oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.' "

Kretz said she mostly received positive feedback, but about four or five days after an image of a reimagined Swastika band made from the red MAGA hat appeared, Facebook shut down her page citing it violated community standards. Kretz appealed the decision but says she hasn't heard anything.

The Mount Rainier, Md resident said she buys knock-off MAGA hats for her art. "I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting any money in [Trump’s] pocket,” Kretz said.

And while she knows art is subjective, as one of the many artists that help to make Facebook, she thinks Facebook should exercise more diplomacy.

"I understand doing things for the greater good," Kretz said. "However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.”

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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