Lauryn Hill

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Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill (born May 25, 1975) is an American hip hop singer, initially establishing her reputation as the most visible and vocal member of The Fugees. She was born in South Orange, New Jersey and began singing and acting at a very young age. Her acting roles included the TV show As the World Turns (as "Kira Johnson" in 1991), and the film Sister Act II: Back in the Habit, the latter of which showcased her vocal abilities. Though the Fugees had originally formed in 1988, Hill's membership was disrupted by her acting and her education at Columbia University. The Fugees' first album, Blunted on Reality, was much-hyped but fell far short of expectations. This was followed by The Score, a multi-platinum selling album that established all three Fugees (Hill, Pras Michel and Wyclef Jean) as international successes.

Hill's other acting work includes the film King of the Hill (as "Arletta the Elevator Operator"), the play "Club 127," and the motion pictures Hav Plenty (1997) and Restaurant (1998). She appeared as a singer in the soundtracks for Conspiracy Theory in 1997 on the track, "Can't take My Eyes Off of You," and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in 2001 on the "Selah" track.

In 1998, Hill released The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, a critical smash hit that ended up on numerous best-of lists for the year, decade and all time. Among the singles on the album was "Doo Wop (That Thing)." In 1999's Grammy Awards, Hill was nominated eleven times and won Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, setting a new record for a female performer. The album's title was inspired by Carter G. Woodson's book, The Miseducation of the Negro.

Soon after, Hill and her recording company were sued by Vada Nobles, Rasheem Pugh, Johari Newton and Tejumold Newton, known as "New Ark Entertainment," who claimed to have been denied full credit and compensation for their assistance on the album. They received an undisclosed amount of money and were given credit for drum programming and a small amount of lyrical, instrumental and production work.

Hill is noted as a humanitarian, and in 1996 she received an Essence Award for work which has included the 1996 founding of the Refugee Project, an outreach organization that supports a two-week overnight camp for at-risk youth, and for supporting well-building projects in Kenya and Uganda, as well as for staging a rap concert in Harlem to promote voter registration. In 1999 Hill received three awards at the 30th Annual NAACP Image Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California. She was named with Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and others among the "10 For Tomorrow," in the EBONY 2000: Special Millennium Issue. In 1999 Ebony magazine named her one of "100+ Most Influential Black Americans."

Though a Fugees reunion was discussed by all of the members of the group, it has not yet happened, reportedly due to conflicts between the three Fugees, including a much-rumored feud between Hill and Wyclef Jean. Hill released an MTV Unplugged album laced with verbal interludes in 2002 to mixed reviews. The Unplugged 2.0 album showed another side of Lauryn Hill, as she focused more on the lyrics and the message she was spreading instead of the musical arrangements.

On December 13, 2003, Hill shocked officials at the Vatican by denouncing them for "corruption, exploitation, and abuses," apparently in reference to allegations of the child molestation of boys by Catholic officials in the United States of America and the cover-up of offenses by Catholic Church officials. Among those in attendance were Edmund Cardinal Szoka, American-born President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City, and President of the Governatorate of Vatican City. Two days later Pope John Paul II told a group of Bishops from Sudan that, "Scandalous behavior must at all times be investigated, confronted and corrected" in the Catholic Church.

Hill has four children by her husband, retired (American) football player Rohan Marley, son of the late reggae artist, Bob Marley: Zion David Marley, born 1997, Selah Louise Marley, born 1998, and second son Joshua, born 2002. A fourth child, John, was born in 2003. Hill also has two stepchildren.

Hill's nickname is "L-Boogie."

The three Fugees were reunited on September 18, 2004 at Dave Chappelle's Block Party in Brooklyn, New York. They headlined a bill that included a star-studded cast of who's who in hip hop, including Kanye West, Common, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others.

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