Does Lauryn Hill's miseducation extend to the gay community?
The ex-Fugees singer's first single in over a decade, "Neurotic Society," is raising eyebrows among LGBT activists and other commentators for some lyrics that appear to take aim at "girl men," "drag queens" and "social transvestism" as part of a broadside railing against that which has caused a "neurotic godless society."
While Hill rails against all kinds of social injustices, from "pimps pushers and harlotry" and "vice lords and yellow men junkies of popularity," it's the seemingly homophobic-sounding references that have drawn the most scrutiny.
"Whether or not Hill is merely using these comments as examples of the smokescreens and sleight-of-hands that pervade this 'Neurotic Society' is unclear," wrote BET's Monica Miller in a critical column. "Beyond intention, these sorts of statements suggest that society is in a shambles because it's been taking too many cues from the LGBTQ community, acting like 'girl men,' 'drag queens' and 'transvestites.' Is her beef with oppressive society or is her issue with people who don't abide by a traditional family structure?"
She added: "For those who don't feel me, would it be okay if her song criticized 'neurotic society' for acting like 'N-----s,' 'mammies,' and 'jezebels?' No!"
Out magazine also weighed in, questioning if the lyrics "social transvestism/subliminal dressed up as piety," could be interpreted as a "jab at organized religion, especially the Catholic Church which Hill has denounced in the past."
Hill, who was sentenced earlier this month to three months in jail after pleading guilty to tax-evasion charges, has so far stayed mum on the controversy. However on the day she released the single, the 38-year-old R&B star did partially explain her intent behind the song.
"In light of Wednesday's tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today's unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!" Hill wrote.
You can listen to the full track here.