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Lauryn Hill has a new explanation for why she didn’t pay taxes: slavery. A quote taken from inside the courtroom revealed the New Jersey native’s statement to the judge and from the sounds of it, Hill’s ancestors may be to blame.

“I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,” the New Jersey native told U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo.“I had an economic system imposed on me. Someone did the math, and it came to around $600 million. And I sit here before you trying to figure out how to pay a tax debt?”

Hill made a last-minute $900,000 payment to IRS one day ahead of Monday’s (May 6) court date, but her failure to cover interest and penalties resulted in a three-month prison sentence. In another statement to the judge, the former Fugee rehashed her decision to leave the music industry. “There were veiled threats, there was blacklisting,” she said. “I was told, ‘That’s how it goes, it comes with the territory.’ I came to be perceived as a cash cow and not a person. When people capitalize on a persona, they forget there is a person in there.”

Despite a rocky relationship with the music industry, Hill recently entered into a label deal with Sony. The multi-Grammy winner reportedly signed the deal to get an advance to make the hefty tax payment.

In addition to prison time, Hill must pay a $60,000 fine, and will spend to first three months of a one-year probation sentence under home confinement.

Photo: AP