Lauryn Hill almost never gives interviews, so on Monday, the artist took another route to get a message out to fans—and at least one recently vocal critic, Robert Glasper, who accused Hill of stealing his friends’ music, mistreating her band, and asking her band not to look her in the eye, among other things. Hill published a response to Glasper’s allegations on Medium, and oh boy, it’s long, but she really gets into it.
First, she rejects the claim that she did not write the songs on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. (In 2001, Hill settled a lawsuit with former collaborators over writing credits on the album.) “You may be able to make suggestions, but you can’t write FOR me. I am the architect of my creative expression,” she writes. Later on, she also states that the rumor that she’s not allowed to play the original versions of her songs in concert is “a myth” and that she chooses to remix her songs “because I haven’t released an album in several years.”
But back to how she selects and treats bands: Hill explains that she wasn’t perfect in her attempts to recreate the working environment she had with her former band, The Fugees:
The Miseducation was the first time I worked with musicians outside of the Fugees who’s report and working relationship was clear. In an effort to create the same level of comfort, I may not have established the necessary boundaries and may have been more inviting than I should have been. In hindsight, I would have handled it differently for the removal of any confusion. And I have handled it differently since, I’m clear and I make clear before someone walks in the door what I am and am not looking for. I may have been inclusive, but these are my songs.
But she maintains that her behavior towards her band was ever anything short of professional:
When you’re a popular artist or public figure, people can sometimes forget that you’re hiring them to perform a service, and that you’re not the one there to entertain THEM. I didn’t scream or yell. Maybe I didn’t provide the experience that a musician may have wanted or expected during that time, but I was straight-forward, direct, and about the business at hand.
While she denies that she required others not to look her in the eye, she says, “yes, [being addressed as] Ms. Hill was absolutely a requirement. I was young, Black and female.” To Glasper’s claim that other musicians like Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones have achieved more than her but demanded less of their coworkers, Hill writes, “I adore Stevie, and honor Herbie and Quincy, who are our forebears, but they’re not women.”
She also wanted to set the record straight on another rumor about her: “And just to clear up an old urban legend that somehow people still believe, I do not hate white people. I do, however, despise a system of entitlement and oppression set up to exploit people who are different.” I totally get that. She adds, referring to Glasper:
Who are you to say I didn’t do enough? Most people are probably just hearing your name for the first time because you dropped MINE in an interview, controversially. Taking nothing away from your talent, but this is a fact.
Read her full statement here.