Community backlash over Lauryn Hill’s Australian tour
Community members have raised concern over the booking of Lauryn Hill at The Arts Centre in May after she was labeled homophobic over some of her song lyrics.
Released last year, the track ‘Neurotic Society’ came under scrutiny when Hill was questioned about lyrics referencing ‘girl men’, ‘drag queens’ and ‘social transvestism’, which was reported by The Huffington Post and Pink News.
Concerned community member Aaron Minto told MCV that “contrary to the opinions of some of our federal politicians, it is not 'ok to be a bigot' in modern Australia”.
“Melbourne is a progressive city that rejects speech from any individual that blames ‘transvestites’ (sic) ‘girlie men’ and ‘drag queens’ for the crumbling of society and equates our community with ‘pushers’, ‘pimps’ and ‘serial Criminals’,” Minto said.
Hill, formerly of the Fugees, was found guilty of tax evasion last year and spent three months in prison after failing to pay over US$1 million in taxes.
Arts Centre performing arts program manager David Anderson has responded, stating: “We do not endorse homophobia or tax evasion, but neither do we believe it is our role to dictate the artistic expression of performers within our venues.
“We trust our visitors to make the ultimate judgement on these issues – which they do by choosing whether or not to purchase a ticket.”
Hill responded to the homophobia last year on her Tumblr page, stating: “Neurotic Society is a song about people not being, or not being able to be, who and what they truly are, due to the current social construct. I am not targeting any particular group of people, but rather targeting everyone in our society who hides behind neurotic behavior, rather than deal with it.
"Everyone has a right to their own beliefs. Although I do not necessarily agree with what everyone says or does, I do believe in everyone’s right to protest," she continued. "The overarching message of my music is to get up and stop compromising! And hopefully it will stimulate and motivate the changes that our society needs."
Video: Check out a lyric video to Lauryn Hill's 'Nuerotic Society'