Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Her name, her incredible contralto, her audacious talent, her scrumptious beauty have made Lauryn Hill a legend in hip-hop and music generally.

Her solo effort, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”, earned her a Grammy in 1998 (for best album), and a place in the hearts of millions.

When she tired of the industry she tried to build a life for herself and her family, but the business continued to beckon.

Now, this enormous talent is behind prison bars, charged with tax evasion on some $2 million in income over several years.

Two million dollars sounds like a lot of dough, but consider this: of the many U.S. based transnational corporations with assets of over $100 million, 37% paid nothing in US federal taxes. That’s right – not one red cent.

That’s according to Mark Zepezauer’s Take the Rich Off Welfare (South End: 2004) (p.29).

And that’s because Congress has been slashing corporate taxes for years, while raising taxes on people.

Who needs money more, a mother of 6 children; or the CEOs of corporations who sometimes make over 500 their own workers’ pay?

We have punished people while bowing to corporations—whom the law has granted constitutional rights of personhood.

That’s crazy – but true.

Meanwhile, schools are closing; cities are crumbling; bridges are toppling and good jobs are fleeing. That’s because, as Zepezauer has written, “the rich are on welfare.”

The super-rich pay nothing; and some have flown to the Caymans to hide their loot and escape taxes.

Even if caught there are no jail cells for them, although they deprive their country of trillions in tax revenue. Also, how can you jail a corporation – even one granted personhood under the ignoble Citizens United decision of the US Supreme Court?

They throw a few farthings into the public kettle, while Lauryn Hill, a national –no, international – treasure and mother of six goes to prison.

This then is the re-education of Lauryn Hill. (And she thought the music industry was crappy!)