The 38-year-old singer whose stockbroker father was jailed for 10 years for crimes related to stock manipulation believes there is a “direct line” between the country’s past history with slavery and the inequalities of the current legal system, which includes “injustices” such as drug laws being designed to disproportionately affect people of colour.
She said: “We’re still living the history of the enslavement of Black people in this country. There’s a direct line between slavery and incarceration. A direct line
“[Drug laws are one of many] injustices that have been done to the descendants of formerly enslaved human beings. I have a lot of thoughts on the failings of the criminal justice system and the problems of monetising incarceration. So yes, it’s an American tragedy. It is.”
When it comes to her father’s situation, the ‘New York’ singer – whose real name is Annie Clark – thinks he had the “best-case scenario” of integrating back into normal life when he was released from prison.
She said: “Not to be Disneyfied about it, but he spent a decade of his life behind bars and he served his time and he’s out.
“It’s best-case scenario for the post-prison life – being integrated into the family and being a person among kids and grandkids and all that stuff. So there’s a sweetness to where it ended up.”
And the singer is keen to stress that her father’s experience was a “different thing” entirely.
She said: “So my own personal experience … it’s just one story. It’s not intended to encapsulate the entirety of the thing at all. The situation with my family, it’s not a result of the same lineage of slavery. It was a different thing.
“It’s my little sliver, which is that my father’s actions … the American criminal justice system said, ‘In exchange for what you’ve done, you’ll give us 10 years of your life. And then after that, you’ve paid your dues.’ And that was the exchange. And it’s wild to think about that. It’s wild to think about what people
“The prison system is American capitalism figuring out how to use humans as meat machines.”