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Lauryn Hill is a singer, songwriter, actor and producer. She was born May 25, 1975 in a middle class suburb in South Orange, New Jersey. She began singing and acting at an early age. In 1988, she performed for Amateur Night on It’s Showtime at the Apollo. She was initially booed but eventually won over the crowd.
When she was a freshman in high school, Pras Michel approached her about joining his musical group with Wyclef Jean, and the trio eventually became known as the Fugees. The group signed with Columbia/Ruffhouse Records in 1993.
It wasn’t until their second album The Score released in 1996 that fans gained a true appreciation for the groups blend of reggae, rock, soul, and hip-hop. The album hit the top spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 and remained in the top ten for over a year and a half. The group split in 1997 for the members to pursue their own solo projects.
Hill’s solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released in 1998 to rave reviews. The album went on to be the most acclaimed album of that year. The album made Hill the first woman to be nominated for ten different Grammy categories, and she went on to make history by being the first women to win five Grammy Awards in one night. In 1999, she also received four NAACP Image Awards and also became the youngest person to be named to Ebony magazine’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans list. Hill was also named to People magazines 50 Most Beautiful People List.
After turning down multiple movie roles and becoming pregnant, Hill dropped out of the public eye in 2000. Hill took time to simplify her life and pursue her spiritual development.
She released an MTV Unplugged special in May 2002, but the music, which only featured an acoustic guitar, was very different from what fans were used to. Critics were divided with some judging it harshly and others praising it for it’s raw presentation of Hill and her ideas.
Since that time, Hill has toured sporadically and made an appearance with the Fugess in the 2004 Dave Chappelle’s Block Party Film. She has continued to tour and perform despite serving three months in jail for tax evasion.
The following video is an interview Hill completed for the Academy of Achievers in 2000. Check it out to hear her discuss her mother’s spiritual nourishment, how The Matrix is a metaphor for how she views spirituality, how her work is an act of love, and much more.