Lauryn Hill was the Roots’ surprise guest at Philadelphia’s annual Wawa Welcome America concert on July 4. The Grammy winning singer’s unscheduled appearance came just five days after she pleaded guilty to evading federal taxes.
But if the vocalist was worried about her legal issues, she didn’t show it. A smiling Hill joined the likes of headliners the Roots, Earth Wind & Fire, Boyz II Men, Common, Queen Latifah, and Daryl Hall at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
On June 29, the 37-year-old performer pleaded guilty to failing to pay federal taxes on $1.8 million. She faces three years in prison and about $75,000 in fines at her November court date.
The singer, who attained icon status after the release of her 1998 multi-platinum album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, has been the subject of much gossip. Just recently R&B boy band Mindless Behavior got into hot water when group member Ray Ray made a joke about Hill’s legal issues at the BET Music Awards.
“You sing bad…like Lauryn Hill’s tax accountant bad,” he said in an exchange with comedian Michael Epps, who playfully showed off his singing talents. The joke received negative reaction from the crowd, even prompting superstar Beyonce to come out in support of Hill during her acceptance speech.
“I want to thank all the talented R&B women who came before me like Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige,” she said.
The young singers later tweeted an apology saying it was “a bad joke.” —Keith Murphy, CBS Local