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65 thoughts on “Rapper Talib Kweli Passionately Explains How the US Prison System Evolved from Slavery

  1. Cherri Anne says:

    Talib is so necessary, especially in the music industry. Like, his presence cannot be underestimated. (…and might I add, that chinstrap beard…Laaaawd!)

  2. She said 25%? Uh, try more close to like 40…

  3. Thank you for striving to educate yourselves, as well as spreading that awareness to as many others as possible. Slavery is a more and more popular topic of discussion lately. I hope that it has to do with the modern abolitionist movement, and the general public finally getting the right lesson on the 13th Amendment exception.

    Unlike Brazil, which used the "Lei Áurea" in only two articles:
    "Article 1: From this date, slavery is declared abolished in Brazil.
    Article 2: All dispositions to the contrary are revoked."- the U.S. chose to declare that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    One of these actually ended slavery… the other took it out of private hands and made it an agency of the state itself. This is why we allege that slavery in America never actually ended, and we engage people in the conversation concerning modern day slavery as a contemporary issue.

    There is a general acceptance of a 400 year timespan for colonialized slavery, and I think that is based on Africans being subjugated by europeons since the early 1500's. The generalization is dependant upon a very forgiving timeline- perhaps as to say from 1492 (1500)- 1865(1900), and from there, I think you get the 400 years standard. People very easily associate Columbus with slave trading, and what the Portuguese and Spanish did in Africa is all a part of an intact narrative for most. English participation in the slave trade was of course essential to the rise of capitalism, and began in 1563. In 1555 John Lok brought the first Ghanaian slaves to England, where they learned English in order to return to Ghana and act as interpreters for slave traders. These dates all contribute to the 400 year association.

    So as far as the current conversation that America is having concerning the "New Jim Crow", we allege that mass incarceration was only ever devised as a method of replacing a lost piece of the economy, as well as serving as a form of eugenics, therefore its just the same old slavery.

    All of the statistics are showing that lynchings of the past are happening at the same pace as extrajudicial murders by professional law enforcement today. Clearly that is unacceptable. Corrections officers murdering inmates/slaves, is the same as plantation killings by overseers of yesteryear.

    Check out New Abolitionists Radio- a program that seeks to educate the public, and agitate for an end of 21st Century Slavery and Human Trafficking. It is an extension of the group Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery. The program broadcasts live every Wednesday night at 8:00PM EST. We discuss the direct and obvious connections between "chattel slavery", and the continuation of the same fundamental practice, for the sake of generating revenue- only now it is done by way of the Prison Industrial Complex. All of this is allowed by the 13th Amendment exception clause.

    Every day, through our social media outlets and once a week through the Black Talk Radio Network, our live show, New Abolitionists Radio explores and explains the reality of the situation. We make it clear that the prison for profit model has to go, and the 13th Amendment needs to be updated to reflect the real end of slavery and any possibility of any individual being made a slave.

    I would like to invite all of you to listen in to the program and/or join us on the BTRN blog, or our facebook page of the same name- New Abolitionists Radio. There is a link.

    Yohanan ELiYah

    You can find us on facebook:

    New Abolitionists Radio page:

    The Move to Abolish 21st Century Slavery group:

    Black Talk Abolitionists Radio Show:

    Power to the people!

  4. Mark S Malone Sr says:

    I will continue to vote because my people were denied the right because of skin color. Bleed and died for it.

  5. Jason Neal says:

    I Totally agree with him.

  6. Jake McCoy says:

    His heart is in the right place, but he's wrong about his decision not to vote. Our ancestors dying for the right to vote is sufficient reason to vote. If you don't like any of the candidates on the ballot, then you can write-in your own candidate. Also, there are things on the ballot like "Should we spend more money to make sure our water is the highest quality?" He seriously has no opinion on that kind of stuff? Because he doesn't vote, any complaint he has about society falls on deaf ears over here. If you don't vote, then you have no right to complain…simple as that.

  7. Lamont Douglas says:

    I refuse to let you box this Brotha in by saying he is wrong about his views about voting. We have to atop this cut and draw ideology that the only thing that is right is what we agree with. Truthfully most people who vote are not familiar with the vast amounts of candidates or propositions on the ballot. I respect his rights and views on voting

  8. John Stockton says:

    The first American prison was built about a half century before the first slaves were brought to America. But I agree; don't vote until you know the issues. That could solve a lot of things.

  9. Bryan Ellis says:

    Are ancestors did not die for the right to vote… they died for freedom… you've been able to vote for decades are you free yet?

  10. Lola Powell says:

    You spoke the truth. You said alot.

  11. Lola Powell says:

    Not true, some people don't want to choose the "lesser" of 2 evils. That doesn't mean a person can't speak out against things and work on changing them in other ways. He's not discouraging people from voting and if we can be honest we didn't vote our way out of slavery, we fought died and shed blood for our freedom. Just like we can't vote our way out of officers shooting unarmed black men. There's a time for war and a time for peace and when certain things are being done at a mass level against a group of people casting a ballot is something that really doesn't do the trick. It sounds harsh, but to be frank when someone is killing and imprisoning your people and astonishing rates…you don't "get out and vote" them away. You go to war. I don't think it's something that will happen tomorrow, but it is inevitable.

  12. Lola Powell says:

    Yes, you said "the first prison". Now look how many prisons, jails, and detention centers there are here since the "freeing" of blacks in America. As someone who works in a jail I can tell you firsthand that the only reason for the mass incarceration is to detain blacks. It is a huge money maker, allows for cheap labor, and everybody banks off of it. Prisons can even be privately owned now…it's sickening and there's more black faces than anything, not because they are more likely to be criminals. Simply because that's where America wants it's black people. If you're not in the field being our slaves then we'll lock you up. Plain and simple. Freedom my foot.

  13. Eva Anika says:

    The interviewer clearly didn't have enough time to ask this instinctual and obvious question. But if Talib is saying that people's deaths for the right to vote isn't/aren't enough reason for us to utilize our constitutional, 15th amendment right, what reason WOULD be considered a strong enough one? If people's deaths aren't good enough reason? In other words, what better reason for us to vote exists than the reason that people gave up their very lives for us to exercise that right?

  14. Eva Anika says:

    I think we should look at accounts of what the ancestors themselves said they were dying for. When the KKK approached my grandfather's house in the dead of night because they saw his name on the voting rolls, had they killed him he would have died for the right to vote. Freedom, he would have said, is a larger issue. Considering that "free" people make themselves bound to financial bondage, lust, becoming babydaddies, irresponsibility, and terrible employers every day, "freedom" is a far broader and wider issue than the very basic thing many of our ancestors died for.

  15. Bryan Ellis says:

    Eva …freedom is the only issue… I don't think freedom is a broad at all its actually the exact opposite…

  16. John Stockton says:

    Lola Powell I was showing that he was full of shit. And there wouldn't be so many blacks in prison if they weren't committing so many crimes. With the "knockout game" now taking place, it seems that the average age of blacks in prison is going to drop significantly. Get over yourself. You're not that big of a threat to anybody. This shit about "It takes a nation to hold us back" comes from an inferior mindset. A whole planet can't hold white people back. That is the attitude you need. You're only as free as you believe you are. Your real prison is self realized. Just look at what a monolithic group you are goosestepping for the Democratic Party, scared stiff to step off of the plantation.

  17. John Stockton says:

    Lola Powell And cheap labor, my ass. More like Club Ped, doing nothing but eating, smoking, buttfucking, working out, watching tv and wasting away.

  18. Lola Powell says:

    John Stockton Wow you are so uneducated about whats really going on it's sad. Blacks aren't committing anymore crimes than white people are. The only difference is that when a black person commits a crime they are almost always taken to jail and given harsher punishments. Whereas white people get breaks and many times never even go to jail for those same petty crimes. You totally missed the point of what I was saying because you're too narrow minded to know what's going on and you don't know the mindset of my people so you can get off your high horse. You're a fool if you think you do smh. I can see what type of person you are I don't even need to bother wasting another sentence on you.

  19. John Stockton says:

    Lola Powell You can live in that prison of your mind all you want to, dear. it's your prison and you are the one who will suffer for it. The evidence is all around you, in the news, raw evidence, right before your eyes, but you choose to live in lala land. Good luck with that.

  20. vote just because you want to vote?…wow! clever.

  21. you dont vote just to vote..rewind the interview and listen to what he said

  22. Mark S Malone Sr says:

    I understood what he said KuKu I don't need to rewind. No matter what is going on in my community positive or negative. I will cast my vote. Whether I win or lose MY voice was heard.

  23. Lola Powell says:

    John Stockton Oh please…spare me. While you're trying to sound deep like you know what the hell is going on I actually work in the system and see first hand the situation and only a pure fool would think it's "imagined" when the reality is right there in your face. You can think your free in your mind all you want, but if you're locked up the it is what it is. There's a difference between being mentally imprisoned and being in complete denial smh, clearly you don't know that.

  24. John Quinn says:

    Damned Right, most blacks just love popular cliche'd sayings without putting any Real thought behind it. Black people fought & died for a crooked system that's fulla Shit.But they were unaware of it back then & believed this country's LIES. Now, in modern times with information literally at your fingertips & blatant history of corruption by a political system comprised of Greedy Lying Phony's who just make promises & make life more difficult for the average working citizen. There is No Excuse.

  25. Sherisma Gci C-Light says:

    Kuku Assiamah Some people just can't understand…

    "I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

    – Harriet Tubman

  26. Mark S Malone Sr says:

    Yeah some people will never understand don't attack me attack the white man.

  27. it is I bin there and the way the treat us I have visions of slavery.

  28. Jake McCoy says:

    I guess if you don't vote, then you don't notice there's other important stuff besides candidates. I'm not trying to be mean, but if you don't when you have the right, then your opinion about voting does not matter.

  29. Jake McCoy says:

    How's not voting working out for you?

  30. Jake McCoy says:

    totally agree

  31. Bryan Ellis says:

    Jake McCoy who said I didn't vote? I did but I also know that it's going to take way more than me voting for someone who's controlled by corporations to get my people to the place we're supposed to be.. Voting is what our people back then knewwas going to help them get to their freedom. It's been 145 years since we've had the right to vote so like I said before… are you free yet?

  32. Raze Thebar says:

    how about actually agreeing with the principles of a candidate and supporting him/her because you believe this is the right person for the job, not the lesser of two evils

  33. Samuel Greezy says:

    It is encouraging to see you actually give a shit but the voting thing doesn't do anything that will give life to our coloured ppl. You think the people in charge would give any other race the opportunity to be as wealthy never in the history of America have they put anyone on their level if it doesn't benefit them. It's sad that we believe this voting stuff works … They have convinced us that voting actually moves things along when clearly the country is deteriorating faster each year. These people in power are beyond stubborn they would never give us the chance as a race to be equal…not in their mind looooooool they created voting you think that benefits you? Everything they hv controlled or created so far has more bad effects than good tell me if I'm wrong

  34. Mark S Malone Sr says:

    Everything you said Samuel is wrong. First you don't know me or what I think. I'm just one black man with a point of view that suit's me. Who said the wealthy would give us anything? I won't allow you are any artist to inform my on what I should do with my right to vote. It looks like people who believe like you are hoodwinked. The prison system has taken that away from our brother that are behind bars as I type this. I wont give up or give in to this I won't vote madness. We have the power as a people. But if we thought like you we are doomed.

  35. Lola Lola says:

    Jake McCoy Actually, I never said I didn't vote. You're jumping to conclusions and making assumptions, which is really immature. I'm aware that there are zoning laws, amendments, and other things to vote on. I've actually won the Brenda C. Snipes Supervisor of Elections Award before for your information. I also do not watch Scandal or How To Get Away With Murder for that matter. I don't care for the subliminal message that either of the shows send, but that's another topic entirely. Good day sir.

  36. Jake McCoy says:

    Lola, I wasn't even talking to you.

  37. Jake McCoy says:

    If you aren't voting and aren't actively involved in a revolution, then what are you doing?

  38. Loving Abundance says:

    I recommend us simply walking away from the current grid… just like the blacks did in the past when Ida B. Wells had a town (6000) of blacks simply move away. Just stop depending on a system that enslaves. Even our black president can't help us.

  39. Loving Abundance says:

    When a person is addicted to pharmaceuticals they go to detox. When a black person is addicted to weed… we go to jail? Pharmaceuticals is the number one killer of people… not weed.

  40. You took one statement out of this entire interview to prove what?

  41. How has voting help you thus far?

  42. Jake McCoy says:

    Walt, how has not voting helped you thus far?

  43. William Barton says:

    Lola lola a true example of voting for the lesser of two evils would go like voting for satan or the devil.

  44. Pauletta Cuttino says:

    Lola Lola you are so correct in your observation.

  45. Jake McCoy says:

    Folks, in order for your argument about "voting does not matter" to work, you have to vote first. It's a Catch-22.

  46. Carlos Lopez says:

    What a stupid, ignorant, retard is this shit head.

  47. Jake McCoy says:

    If you aren't voting and aren't actively involved in a revolution, then what are you doing?

  48. Talib is the anti Kendrick…

  49. Corey Longs says:

    I really don't put alot of my business on Facebook but right now I feel like VENTING!. Being a single parent of one child is a challenge but 6 children makes the challenge 6 times harder but Ive learned what it takes to not only crush the challenge but also learn when it's time to be still and let GOD take the wheel. Some people may not know this but I was recently released from Coastal State Prison for taking out title loans on my SUV to get money to start my business. Bumble Bee Landscape and Tree Service. Prosecutors actually used false witness to come into Court and the witness testified she gave me a loan at loan store she didn't even work at the witness lied and said I gave her false numbers to my references, she lied and said I didn't live at the address I gave her, this woman lied from time she took the stand the until time she left the Court House parking. After her testimony I was convicted and incarcerated that's when my mom and my kids went up to this loan store that this witness testified she worked at and the owner of the store was clueless about who this lady was and says he will do anything he could to help me but unfortunately his testimony would only be good on Appeal so I had to set in prison until they felt like they wanted to let me go. Im really thankful my mother was there with my kids otherwise they would've been lost but the Judicial system could have cared less about my kids they only cared about their conviction rate. To all those has never been to prison I wouldn't wish it on my enemy but I will say this, There is a lot of corrupt deceitful, things going on within the Judicial system and I'd advise anyone that has a loved one incarcerated to listen to their story because I landed in prison and the only thing I did was take out loans(that I was paying) to start my business so I could teach these sons of mine how to make an honest living but again the GOVERNMENT didn't care and did whatever it took to get their conviction against me.. luckily my family activated their cell phone when they went to the title store to talk with that guy so we can actually prove I was setup but what about all People that didn't have love ones that was willing to investigate and open their ears their probably rotting inside those nasty filthy prison walls… My case is going for Appeal and I have hardcore evidence but unfortunately my buisness equipment had to be liquidated so my mom could keep food on the table for my children while I was gone. I know everything happens for a reason so through it all I smile and continue to LIVE, LOVE and find a way to LAUGH!!

    People Be Careful Because The Government Will Set You Up!!

    If There's Anyone That Knows any Civil Rights Attorney or Someone I Can Share My Story With To Make Sure This Type Of Stuff Stops In Our Judicial System Than Please Inbox me.

    Share..Share..Share..If You Really Care!!

  50. Lee Johnson says:

    Your free. Your free to protest if you feel wronged, your free to work and prosper. Your free to live off hand outs if you desire. You screw up and your free to go to jail just like the rest of us. Nothing more, nothing less. They didn't have a problem changing my address when I screwed up. I was raised in a racist black school and neighborhood. I didn't just fall off a turnip truck. I'll get killed if I walk the hood at night. It damn sure ain't over slavery. Take a walk in my shoes !

  51. I see a lot of arguments on here about talibs opinion on voting instead of debating the point of this video. Prison is modern day slavery, talk about that. The fact that most of the conversations below are about voting instead of how the prison system has helped to erode the black community says volumes. It means you argue about something you know about something you feel is up for debate but inside you already know that the "Jail" is slavery and laws are targeted towards black. You already know that there is a whole industry that thrives off black incarceration.

  52. Ryan Woodard says:

    Lee Johnson no such thing as a "racist black school" or "community".

  53. John you have absolutely no idea how history works, it's clear. And your venomous white supremacy language is abominable. You are so uninformed and so off base with this. You have no exposure to the community of which you criticize, it's really time you keep this kind of stuff to yourself

  54. Sandile Dube says:

    it has been said that this is a feedom I dnt knw who said it…i thnk its a phropecy coz this ain't no freedom….what a shame in our own world….sum people r nt people bt animals that trat other ppl's as animals n while they remain clean when they r nt coz I mean this is a mess n whose goin clean it…sumbody gots to do it…tnx Talip Kweli. Wher is justice…hwcum the poor gets so poorer n the rich gets richer…vote for wat if w knw that where w cum frm, ther ain't nughn makes the difference n I'm just worried just whr r the kids goin2b in this world that has no equality…i just wonda just hw r the rich people b thnkn n wat state of mind can grow any kid wit that type of mentality n wat abt their kids too turning our world without any care for any1…i mean a man lyk that can neva grow any kids that well coz his kids r goin to b the way h is coz carmer ain't no joke coz the world kips turning…ye Talip…i just wonda…tnx for speakin for the people coz u don't forget whr u cum frm….i wish u whr the president or king coz I mean your greater in yo own creativity work of music n u write abt that too in yo music ther ain't nughn new to m bt if whr president u wuld free all people bcoz of freedom…u knw wats freedom…enough said…

  55. No one is truly free. Now the slave drivers have changed.

  56. Chris Irwin says:

    Democracy is a verb. It's much more than pushing a button once a year.

  57. this should be known at kindergarten

  58. Vernon Blake says:

    You got that backwards Jake. If you vote, you have no right to complain.

  59. Jake McCoy says:

    Vernon, if what you said makes sense to you, then I would actually prefer if you don't vote. So, we're all good.

  60. The Matrix has you

  61. If you go to each States constitution online, you will see it written in their bill of rights. I was shocked when I saw it in our in Ohio. Slavery is prohibited, however, forced labor is permitted in the case of incarceration,. Sick.

  62. Well said. I made a hip hop album called Platinum Shackles touching on the very sam points you just made.

  63. Bobby Banks says:

    Everyone go read the new Jim Crow book then like this brother said then you can only see the connection clearly

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