Lauryn Hill is being accused of homophobic undertones in her new song, “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix).” The song was the former Fugees member’s first single since 2010.
Some of the lyrics in the song refer to “girl men,” “drag queens,” and “social transvestism.” Combined with the rest of the lyrics, some believed that Hill was condemning gay people for societal ills, while others have questioned whether her song is actually an attack on those who are anti-gay rights.
Hill explained the meaning behind the song in a post on her website earlier this month. She first clarifies that she was “required” to release the song immediately because of her legal troubles, but went on to say that, in an ideal scenario, while she would not have rushed to release new music, “the message is still there.”
So what exactly is that message? BET’s Monica Miller posits that Hill’s activism does not extend to the LGBT community.
“‘Neurotic Society’ proclaims again that Babylon is falling — thanks in part to tricksters like ‘girl men, ‘drag queens,’ and the lies of ‘social transvestism.’ 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,” Miller writes. “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?”
But is the song really homophobic? OUT magazine’s Andrew Belonsky doesn’t seem to think so, and believes that the line “girl men” is actually “guru men.” Belonsky also says that the line “social transvestism” combined with “subliminal dressed up as piety” can actually be read as a “commentary on the government’s misrepresentation of itself or perhaps as a jab at organized religion, especially the Catholic Church, which Hill has denounced in the past.”
Belonsky goes on to say that the “drag queens” line “could be interpreted by some as a vilification of gay pride. “But, then again, it could also be interpreted as the simple ramblings of a complicated woman known for making outlandish comments.”
You can listen to “Neurotic Society” in its entirety below.
Do you think Lauryn Hill’s lyrics are homophobic?