Airing Dirty Laundry: Is it Ever Worth it?

by Dom Jones

This week, in a radio interview with 97.9 The Box, Robert Glasper called out Lauryn Hill for treating her musicians poorly and stealing music. You can watch that interview here:

Yesterday, Teyana Taylor announced on Twitter that she would no longer continue on the Later That Night Tour with singer Jeremih, due to being “severely mistreated.”

Jeremih responded by posting a clip of Lil Duval’s now viral song and a caption hashtagging the title of Taylor’s new album. To which Teyana Taylor responded with this clip of her performing on tour, and the caption, “Ain’t nobody coming to see you, Otis!” – a famous line from The Temptations movie. She’s also responded to his post in his Instagram comment section, further fanning the flames of an already tumultuous professional relationship.

Is There A Difference Between Glasper And Taylor?

I’ve seen a lot of different opinions about what Robert Glasper did on social media: ranging from the fact that many of us (especially in the music community) already knew about Hill’s reputation around hiring and firing bands, the case around songwriting and production credits for The MisEducation of Lauryn Hill is public record and had been covered in the media almost two decades ago, and a few people wondered what the impetus was for rehashing what felt like known information. On the flip side, some argued that younger musicians who aren’t as familiar with her music (or influence) might need this information, if they were considering taking a job playing for her.

But there’s absolutely a difference between what Robert Glasper did and what Teyana Taylor did. The mistreatment that Teyana Taylor described on Twitter and in this IG Live video is happening in real time for her… RIGHT NOW. While she could have had a more refined approach in her articulation of her grievances, had she simply dropped off of the tour without an explanation, the narrative could have (and likely would have) been created that she was being difficult. By being upfront about the fact that she was leaving the tour of her own volition and sharing her reasoning behind this, she’s able to own and control her own narrative.

Glasper, on the other hand, sounded like a lauded artist kicking a languishing artist when she’s down. While many make excuses for R. Kelly’s known predatory behavior towards underage girls and Kanye’s controversial and divisive “political” comments, Lauryn Hill is constantly lambasted for her behavior without giving context behind or credit to what she’s been through since that epic album dropped in 1998. Kelly and West’s influence on the music industry is often cited in the reasoning for continuing to give them passes for their outrageous behavior, when Hill, in my opinion, is more influential than both of them with one studio album. Robert Glasper himself came under fire just last year for his sexist comments during an interview, so is he standing in a glass house throwing stones? And why now? The incident with Lauryn Hill happened, according to Glasper, in 2008. Why is he bringing it up ten years later?

Should Artists Call Other Artists Out Publicly?

I think that there’s a time and a place. If it’s a disagreement between artists that isn’t affecting the public, I think that there should be a strong attempt made to handle the disagreement privately. If the disagreement does affect the public, that’s a different story. The #MuteRKelly movement was absolutely appropriate because, here’s a man with fame and power, leveraging it to take advantage of underaged girls. Call that out. Teyana Taylor, an integral part of a national tour, is being mistreated, and will suddenly no longer be a part of a tour that her tens of thousands of fans have paid money to see her perform in? Call that out. Ten years ago, Lauryn Hill changed the set a bunch of times and tried to cut your pay in half? Maybe just call Lauryn Hill.

Would you have taken Glasper or Taylor’s  route with a musical disagreement? Sound off in the comments!

 

About the Author

domjones
Dom Jones is a dual major in Music Business and Songwriting, and her work has been published in Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Blavity and Ebony.com. She released her debut album, Wingspan, in 2014 and her follow up EP, Blackbird in 2016. Find out more about her at iamdomjones.com