Selma director Ava DuVernay is here to mess up your day yet again. This time her documentary The 13th shows how the 13th Amendment didn’t really abolish slavery, it just rebranded it.
Remember when Killer Mike rapped these words on his R.A.P. Music single “Reagan” back in 2012?
But thanks to Reaganomics, prisons turned to profits
Cause free labor is the cornerstone of US economics
Cause slavery was abolished, unless you are in prison
You think I am bullshitting, then read the 13th Amendment
Involuntary servitude and slavery it prohibits
That’s why they giving drug offenders time in double digits
In case those lyrics were too much to digest, film director Ava DuVernay has essentially taken the same truth and turned it into video form with her new documentary The 13th.
It’s already common knowledge that the United States is the worldwide leader in incarceration rates. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in every 110 Americans is behind bars, while one in 51 Americans is currently on parole or probation as of 2013. In all, that’s roughly 6.8 million people caught up in “the system.”
DuVernay’s documentary attempts to answer the questions of why and how we got here. The film features commentary from columnists, authors and experts including Jelani Cobb, Michelle Alexander and Van Jones.
The prison industrial complex has been a hot button topic in the African-American community for decades. Just as recent as this week, actor Romany Malco‘s video about the connection between slavery and prison went viral.
Check out the trailer below. The 13th debuts on Netflix Friday, Oct. 7.