Fiona Apple has appeared in and provided music for a PSA for the National Courtwatch Network.
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The artist has become an outspoken advocate of court watching over the past few years and explains in the short film what the constitutionally enshrined tradition involves, while also encouraging Americans to get involved. She also offers testimonials from her own experiences of court watching, where she observes what happens in publicly accessible court rooms, particularly bail hearings, and documents what she sees.
Court watchers are particularly keen to keep an eye on any injustices in the criminal justice system that play out in the courts, especially where constitutional rights are breached.
Speaking to The Washington Post about the short film, Apple said: “Court watching is really the gateway to a better community, a better world, because it will make you care. It makes you care about people you don’t know. And we need more of that. We really need more of that.”
In addition, she explained that her score wasn’t designed to be a “masterpiece” and instead is a simple, unobtrusive accompaniment to the story. “When I was playing to the Carmen [Johnson] part, I was just really feeling my love for her and her story,” Apple said. “So I did put my heart into it.”
Apple also said her involvement in court-watching began partly because of her 2012 arrest for drug possession in Texas. “It was drugs, it was hash. I wasn’t violent. But I could have gone away for 10 years, you know? And that’s happening to people all of the frickin’ time. It’s happening to people every day. For less.”
Back in October, Apple shared a new song inspired by a J.R.R. Tolkien poem and released it to mark the season finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.