Yvette Carnell: So Lauryn Hill Refused Oprah an Interview? Good.
by Yvette Carnell
After Lauryn Hill started popping out babies by that Marley boy, I began to seriously question her judgement. After her unplugged album, or unhinged rather, depending on your reaction, I began to question her sanity.
But now that the multi-talented star who produced a classic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, has turned down an interview request from Oprah Winfrey, I think I have reason to be optimistic about how Hill’s story will end.
It’s not that I’m not curious about Hill’s tribulations in the years since her genius debut album, I am. We all are. I would enjoy nothing more than for Hill to have an open field to air her thoughts and reflections. Problem is, Oprah’s field is not a healthy environment for any black celebrity’s confessions because Oprah is now, sadly and regrettably, trafficking in the pathology of crestfallen Negroes.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell: Oprah’s got to make good on her end of the OWN deal or the Discovery Channel’s going to clean her clock. That’s a problem, one that can’t be solved with New Age gurus like Eckhart Tolle (who I actually enjoyed on The Oprah Winfrey Show) or celeb cooking segments. OWN is too deep in the hole to build its way back with a line-up of solid and substantive shows. So Ms. “Live Your Best Life” is taking it back to where it all began for her – tabloid tv.
Oprah Winfrey is trading on the tales of Negro tragedy, dragging us along like little pickaninnies, as she desperately vies for attention from white audiences. And what do white people enjoy diving into more than the pathology of black people? It’s like slumming without having to take the drive through the ghetto. And it’s not only Lauryn Hill. We all cringed as Rihanna discussed her feelings for her abuser, Chris Brown, but Oprah also reportedly wants to tear off the scab from the O.J. Simpson era by interviewing him as well. And after that interview, all of white America will, again, be discussing just how stupid the O.J. jury was, and how despicably evil O.J. is. And, as always, when one black person falls, we all fall.
And why rehash this divisive period? All because black criminality sells in American culture, and it sells like hot cakes when the prism through which it reaches viewers is the black intermediary and nursemaid that is Oprah Winfrey. This is the sort of programming that leads to white hysteria, as evidenced by stop and frisk, but Oprah doesn’t care. She’s desperate.
So, even though Lauryn Hill has always had my respect for her immense talent, she has now earned my respect for her courage. Turning down the Queen of All Media ain’t easy, but sometimes refusing to be used as a p**n in someone else’s game is worth more than anything. After Hill’s recent tax troubles, a sit down with Oprah would only result in a smattering of conversations about how financially irresponsible black women are, with scant discussion of Hill’s actual circumstances, financial or otherwise. Oprah is struggling to stay afloat, but we shouldn’t allow her to commoditize us for her continued elevation. We should just let the black exploitation circle end here. And regardless of her reasons for refusing the interview, we can thank Ms. Hill for that.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Yourblackworld. You can follow her on Twitter @YvetteDC or contact her on Facebook
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