In the case of Black people who are associated with financial crimes, there's not only a double standard, there's a 'triple' standard.
This is the first part of an e-book I'll release dealing with the inequities involved with Black people who are convicted of financial crimes.
This tome will be comprised of three short bios that will chronicle the lives of Lauryn Hill, Wesley Snipes and Jamie Dimon (former JPMorgan Chase CEO). And it will show how absurd the american (in)justice system is in it's dealings with Black people accused of crimes involving pretty paltry sums, while Wall Street and corporate executives who create myriad financial meltdowns that nearly tank this economy, seem to get a free pass.
It's crazy to me that not one Wall Street executive went to jail behind their part in the 2008 financial crisis. I just recently found out that the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the IRS have an ANTITRUST CORPORATE LENIENCY PROGRAM...a 'LENIENCY' PROGRAM!! Basically this means corporate crooks can confess to a financial crime and government regulators who should lock them up, actually work with them to draw up installment plans so they can pay back what they stole; while they remain free.
The first part of this looks at Lauryn Hill and her troubles with the american injustice system. You almost expect this country to be hard on brothas, but when they start lockin' up sistas...especially young mothers to boot, it says to Black people that we really need to get on the move and make some real changes.
So here's part one, hope ya' like it:
Lauryn Hill was born on May 26th, 1975; she was raised in South Orange, New Jersey and grew up in a musical family who encouraged her artistic endeavors. Lauryn had early success as a young actress when she landed a recurring role in the TV soap opera 'As the world turns'; she also played opposite Whoopi Goldberg in 'Sister Act 2: Back in the habit'.
In high school, she met up with a young Pras Michel and started a band with Pras' cousin Wyclef Jean; this eventually became 'The Fugees'. The Fugees released two albums, 'Blunted on reality' in 1994 and 'The Score' in 1996. The Score was a breakout success and it took the number one spot on the Billboard 200, selling six million albums worldwide.
Now, it was the industry's public relations machine that blamed the break up of the Fugees on Lauryn and Wyclef's romantic fallout; they also said this is what lead to Lauryn pursuing a solo career. But I suspect the industry elites seperated Lauryn from Wyclef and Pras; 'cause they're notorious for this kind of behavior. Reference Beyonce and Destiny's Child, Michael Jackson and the Jackson five, Diana Ross and the Supremes, etc.
The miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released in 1998 and received an almost unparalleled universal acclaim for a Hip Hop album. Lauryn was lauded as the voice of the 'Hip Hop nation', and she garnered five grammys for the record.
On February 8th, 1999, Lauryn was featured on the cover of Time magazine.
Now, every american knows that this is the mark of someone who's made a revolutionary contribution to this country's culture; and it's one of the white elite's quintessential stamps of approval. Lauryn was america's sweetheart--she was a kinder, gentler and more easily digestible face for Hip Hop culture, thus making it more acceptable for white audiences.
Lauryn became the posterchild for what the white elite thought was commercially golden in Hip Hop. And with that status came their co-opting of her moral compass, along with their using her to make black women more palatable to white men.
Take a look at Lauryn's Rolling Stone cover to the right; again, this is another positive branding of the white supremacist's public relations machine. This magazine gives people their opinions as to what is popular and acceptable in american mainstream culture. But if you look a little closer, you can see the sublime messages coming off this cover. Now, beyond the short-shorts, Lauryn looks like the typical american teenage girl; but if you read the titled captions around her, they intimate something else.
If you look at the left title on top of the Rolling Stone magazine, you'll see it reads 'Larry Flynt D.C. sex cop'. And the right top title reads 'Hole live'; this is basically saying that black women are to be looked upon as sex objects for white men. Beneath the 'Hole live' title there's a listing of the bands 'Sugar Ray' and 'Everclear'; both bands are and were fronted by white men. At the bottom left of the cover the title reads 'white rappers who don't suck'; yet another sexual reference involving white men.
And of course, the pale-skinned degenerates in the white elite always have to lob a derogatory insult at us; and this comes in the form of the cover's bottom right title which says 'How social security robs the young'. This is basically calling black women welfare queens with the mention of social security, when the elites know that the majority of people on welfare in america are white; it's been that way for decades. When they say social security robs 'the young', they're really saying that Black people make up the majority of the welfare cases in this country to the detriment of young white people. Again, you gotta' love these wiley caucasians.
MTV Unplugged 2.0 was the last album released by Lauryn in 2001. It also received a lot of industry acclaim, but not nearly as much as her last endeavor. And at this time Lauryn was getting really disgruntled. See, Lauryn was discovering the REAL price of fame; and she was still distraught about the Fugees break up. This is why she was prone to crying fits like the one she had on MTV's airing of her 'Unplugged' special. She was morally conflicted about what her handlers were asking her to do and had made her do.
Coincidentally, Lauryn was given guitar lessons by the industry's elites to make this instrument popular again. Once turntables started outselling guitars, the white elites had to do something to make guitars popular with Black folks, because in whitey's mind, this is HIS instrument.
Oddly enough, white people's connection to Rock and Roll and guitar playing came decades after Black men created the genre. They used to call Rock and Roll jungle music because we created it and were the only ones playing it. Reference Little Richard, Chuch Berry, Bo Diddly, Muddy Waters, etc. It's funny how Mr. Charley (white people for those of you under 25) now see's this genre as exclusively his own. It was Black men who taught whites to play guitar when they were stuck being pianists and playing irrelevant european classical crap like compositions from beethoven and brahms; but I digress.
Eventually Lauryn's dissatisfaction with her handlers directives had her rebelling and making more political music. And she got so rebellious that she became dangerous.
Cut to today. It's said that Lauryn owes this government a million dollars in back taxes. 1.8 million to be exact.
Now, prosecutors in her case say this debt was for 2008 and 2009 when Lauryn failed to file federal tax returns for 'additional' income she got over the course of these two years. It's said she also owes money for a tax liability to the state of New Jersey.
What they're not telling you is before Lauryn's last hearing, she repaid $970,000 dollars of this debt back to the IRS. And she had friends like Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder writing letters to lobby for her freedom. Still, the amer-i-con government said this wasn't good enough and decided to throw her in jail for 3 MONTHS. Mind you, after her three month stint, she'll also has to serve another three months of house arrest, a year's probation and she's gotta' pay an additional fine of $60,000.
Again, un-freakin' believable.
Now government officials know Lauryn can pay this debt off, and even in the case of her not having the means to do it right now, she could easily make this money in the near future. But this is the price Black folks pay for bucking america's white supremacist institutions. And the price is even steeper for Black celebrities 'cause they have a measure of influence over the public.
Now, this was before my time, but I've heard the same thing happened to Billie Holiday after she began performing the song 'Strange Fruit'. For the uninitiated, the song 'Strange Fruit' was and is about the hanging of Black men in america.
The chorus of the song says: Southern trees bear strange fruit, blood on the leaves, blood on the roots.
It was when Billie started getting too political that white men started pushing heroin on her; and that addiction eventually killed her. Coincidentally, it's also documented that this government worked with the italian mafia to flood the streets of Black communities with heroin to quiet down our political leanings. This was especially true of the time when the Black Panthers were patrolling our streets. Wish they were still around, they might've been able to save Trayvon, but again, I digress.
Getting back to Lauryn, mind you, she's a mother of six. Now, they're gonna' make a mother of six go to jail for three months for a debt she's clearly able to pay?
Again, the only justice Black people are gonna' receive is the kind we seek for ourselves. It's up to us to organize and light a fire beneath the asses of Black politicians, and tell them, if you don't do for us, we're voting you out...PERIOD!!!
Unity, is the only thing that will save us; and this holds true for us all whether you have a G.E.D. or a P.H.D.
Black people, it's time to put our petty qualms aside; we've gotta' unite to survive the travails that are coming.
And as Sam Jackson said in 'Do the right thing'...that's the 'triple' TRUTH, Ruth.
Hotep and Kem Wesir,