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Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is a singer, songwriter and actress who shot to fame in the 1990s with her R&B band “The Fugees” and later as a solo performer. She was born on May 26, 1975 in New Jersey to Valerie and Mal Hill. Her mother was an English teacher and her father was a management consultant. Hill grew up surrounded by music – her father sang at local nightclubs and her mother played piano. She grew up listening to the greats like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. She began to sing during her school years and was a go-getter from the start. She was a member of the track and cheerleading team, took violin and dance lessons, and founded the school’s gospel choir.

Hill took acting lessons during her childhood and began her acting career in 1991 in an off-Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. During this performance, she was noticed by an agent who got her a role on the television soap opera “As the World Turns”. In 1993, she was cast in the hit movie “Sister Act 2” alongside Whoopi Goldberg for which she also performed the songs “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” and “Joyful, Joyful”. She also had a small but important role in Steven Soderbergh’s 1993 film “King of the Hill” for which she received praise from critics. The same year she graduated from high school.

During her high school years, Hill formed a band with her friend Prakazrel Michel and his cousin Wyclef Jean. The band was initially named “Tranzlator Crew” but the name was later changed to “The Fugees” which was a derived from the word “refugee” – a deprecating title given to Haitian-Americans. The band signed an album deal with Columbia/Ruffhouse Records in 1993 and released their first album titled “Blunted on Reality” in 1994. The album reached No. 62 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, but did not achieve very high sales overall. However it helped to highlight Hill’s talent as a singer, particularly the song “Some Seek Stardom” which is often praised as the album’s best single.

The Fugees released their second album in

Jesse Williams' Speech (BET Awards 2016)