Nicki Minaj: US prison system ‘is like slavery’

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The rapper attained forthright remarks about mass incarceration, the death of Texas woman Sandra Bland in police custody and her unapologetic sexuality in a Billboard interview

Nicki Minaj has spoken about the war on drugs in the US, likening mass incarceration to slavery in a recent interview with Billboard magazine.

What it has become is not a war on drugs, she said. It has become slavery. Or something crazier. When I see how many people are in jail, I feel like, Wait a minute. Our government is aware of these statistics and thinks its OK? The sentences are inhumane.

In a cover story interview that touched on music, acting and Minajs relationship with fellow rapper Meek Mill, Minaj spoke about the lengthy words devoted for medication offences since former US president Richard Nixon first declared a war on drugs into law in the 1970 s.

In July, Barack Obama highlighted his push for the criminal justice reform of incarcerate words linked to drugs that tend to disproportionately impact African American and Hispanic citizens with an historic visit to a federal prison. Of the visit, Minaj said: I thought it was so important when he went to prisons and spoke to people who got 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years for drugs. There are women who are raped, people who are killed and[ wrongdoers] dont even serve 20 years.

Minaj added: I was blown away, watching the footage of him speaking to the prisoners. They never felt like anyone in the White House cared about them. I loved that he made them people again.

Billboard also asked Minaj about the Black Lives Matter protest movement that has shed light on racialised policing and the deaths of unarmed black men and women throughout the year. I did research on the Sandra Bland suit, Minaj said, referring to the case of a black Texan woman who was arrested during a routine traffic stop on her way to work and was found dead in her jail cell three days later. Thats why it hit me so hard. I recollect speaking to other women at the time. This could have been me. Im a sassy female. I may have given a little bit of position to a police officer. I could have never come home.

Finally, the rapper spoke about the importance of reciting Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise during recorded event Shining a Illuminate: A Concert for Progress on Race in America, in November. Minajs performance of the poem was met with praise from some feminists online as well as mockery by commenters who believed she could not dress provocatively or use sex innuendo without undermining her reading of the poem.

Watch Nicki Minaj recite Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise in November 2015

It ended up proving a phase. Because I recollect going online after and lots of people said such beautiful things. But there was one dame, an older black female, who said, She shouldnt be reading that poem. And she discussed how I dressed. I love that she said that, because she doesnt even realise the poem is discussing sexiness, owning your sex appeal.

Minaj went on, after repeating a few lines from the poem: My entire career has been that poem in a nutshell.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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