Origins: In 1996 a caller to the Howard Stern show claimed Lauryn Hill of The Fugees made anti-white statements during an MTV interview, to the effect of proclaiming she'd rather see her child starve than have a white kid buy her album. Circulated rumors about the inflammatory comment Hill supposedly made varied from telling to telling, including statements such as:
- "If I'd known white people were going to buy my last album, I never would have recorded it."
- "I would rather have my children starve than have white people buy my albums."
- "I would rather die than have a white person buy one of my albums."
- When asked on MTV about their feelings on having the number one album in the nation, The Fugees said they'd "rather see babies starve and die than have white kids" buy their album.
MTV would later announce the allegation against Hill wasn't true, but by then it was too late; the rumor was already in motion. In the wake of this controversy Hill did call in to The Howard Stern Show on
Would any recording artist be foolish enough to request that a segment of the music-buying public boycott her works? This quote was likely a backlash born of Hill's success, one that paralleled the specious Tommy Hilfiger rumor ("If I knew that Blacks and Asians were going to wear my clothes, I would have never designed them"). It is also possible one of Hill's many black-positive statements was misconstrued as a white-negative comment by someone who misheard what she said and regurgitated it as such.
The Tommy Hilfiger and Lauryn Hill rumors, though similar, display a curious dichotomy. Although no other tales circulate about Hilfiger's alleged racism, we received many different reports from readers claiming that even if Hill didn't make the infamous statement attributed to her, she has disparaged
In May 2013, Lauryn Hill once again made national news when she was sentenced to three months in federal prison and a $60,000 for failing to pay taxes on an estimated
Barbara "hilling me softly" Mikkelson
Sightings: A lyric from "Cum on Everybody," a Eminem song off the 1999 The Slim Shady LP, states: "Bought Lauryn Hill's tape so her kids could starve."
Last updated: 6 May 2013
Teen People. "Queen of the Hill." May 1999 (pp. 65-70). The Wall Street Journal. "Singer Lauryn Hill Sentenced to Three Months in Prison." 6 May 2013.