Pusha T Interviews Ava DuVernay About Mass Incarceration

Pusha T Interviews Ava DuVernay About Mass Incarceration

They discuss the importance of the "13th" documentary.

Published October 19th

Rapper Pusha T and Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay are visionaries of our time, each utilizing different mediums to help spread their message.

While Pusha T takes to his music to discuss topics of a life on the streets and how it too often leads Black men towards being behind bars, DuVernay captures similar stories on film, such as with Selma. Most recently, DuVernay made a documentary titled 13th, examining topics of mass incarceration and the "war on drugs."

Considering Pusha T has a long history in his lyricism of bringing attention to a life on the inside and calling for prison reform, bar after bar, it only makes sense for him to link up with DuVernay to discuss her latest documentary film.

13th explores how lawmakers and corporations in the U.S. have taken a massive problem, stemming from the days of slavery leading up to modern day, and only made it worse: The binary relationship between poor economic conditions and harsh prison sentences have long disproportionately hit people of color harder, calling for overdue awareness and action to help reform a broken justice system.

"If you could produce a film on anything, why is mass incarceration so important?" Pusha asks DuVernay, kicking off their interview hosted by Complex.

"Great question," she answers. "Because it's important to me. I saw people from my community growing up in Compton. They were there one day, and not there the next day."

Both advocates dive right into the subject, with Push asking her to explain the symbolic meaning behind the title.

"13th is entitled as such because we titled it after the 13th Amendment of the constitution," she says. "Everybody knows the 13th Amendment of the constitution says there shall be no slavery in the United States. Most people don't know that that is a lie. Right after it says there shall be no slavery, there's a little clause, a little loophole, that says 'except.' The exception is, except if we think you're a criminal."

Take a look at the entire sit-down between Pusha T and Ava DuVernay in the clip below.

Written by KC Orcutt

(Photos from left: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for OWN, Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

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