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Community backlash over Lauryn Hill’s Australian tour

Community backlash over Lauryn Hill’s Australian tour

LAST UPDATED // Friday, 25 April 2014 01:11 Written by // James Findlay

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'


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based writer and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. James was also the Marketing and PR Manager for Melbourne's Midsumma Festival for two years, before traveling overseas where he taught English in Germany and worked as a tour guide around Western Europe. He is currently studying his Masters at Melbourne University in Public Health (specialising in Sexual Health).

Comments (5)

  • Ted

    07 May 2014 at 21:12 |
    Agree Julien.
  • Julien Tran

    07 May 2014 at 18:31 |
    Get the fuck over it. I am gay. I'm not offended. People should get the heads out their... take several seats and just shut the fuck up. She is an artist. It's her job to provoke you to think about the world she and you are living in. If you cannot handle it, make a sign, sign a petition, turn up a protest, etc. whatever validates your existence. Why overanalyse when you can close your eyes and listen to the sounds of your youth (a la Miseducation of Lauryn Hill). GET OVER IT!
  • ruddiger

    26 April 2014 at 12:17 |

    Care to extrapolate on your theory of how her lyrics: "commerce and girly men run the whole world man" or "greedy men and pride fiends program TV screens, quick scamming drag queens - real life has been blasphemed." are not homophobic?

    I must be missing the context you speak of because they sure sound like the rantings of a "gay/jewish new world order" fantasist to me....
  • Jbeee

    26 April 2014 at 00:01 |
    Lauryn Hill has a voice of an Angel.
  • Jacob

    25 April 2014 at 07:28 |
    Dear Australian Gays,

    I'm going to need all of you to learn how to read. There's nothing in the song that is homophobic. Learn the meaning of those words and the context that it was used and you can eventually realize how stupid you all are for this hoopla! Get a clue.


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