Can a killer whale be a slave?

Story highlights

  • Carl Safina: Lolita, a captured killer whale, is living in Florida at the Miami Seaquarium in a confined space
  • Safina: Lolita should be released into her home waters of Washington State so she can be with her family

Carl Safina holds the Endowed Chair for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University and is author of the upcoming book, "Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)"Lolita's story reminded me of my own," says African-American actress and singer Robbyne Kaamil. "My own relatives, my family ancestors, were captured and forced into slavery."

Captured in waters off Washington State in 1970, Lolita is an orca -- a killer whale. Kaamil, who perceives clear parallels between Lolita's life of captivity-for-profit and the human slave trade, was inspired to record "Let The Girl Go: Free Lolita," a bold music video about Lolita, and a courageous interview on the parallels of captivity between human slaves and performing orcas.