Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crips and Bloods: Made in America



Crips and Bloods: Made in America
Tuesday, May 12, 10:00pm
on KCET (click here for local listings)

Film description listed below provided courtesy of pbs.org website:

A cluster of neighborhoods in the heart of Southern California is home to two of America's most infamous gangs: the Crips and the Bloods. Over the course of their 40-year feud, more than 15,000 people have been murdered in an ongoing cycle of violence that continues unabated. Neighborhoods are staked out, and rigid boundaries are drawn; crossing a street or taking a wrong turn can mean death. Nearly a quarter of the region’s young men who survive the violence will end up in jail or prison.

Narrated by Forest Whitaker, Crips and Bloods: Made in America combines in-depth interviews with current and former gang members, educators, historians, family members and experts with historical and present-day footage to graphically portray the rivalry between African American gangs in South Los Angeles. Three former gang members—Ron, Bird and Kumasi—recount their experiences growing up in the neighborhood in the 1950s, when segregation kept blacks and whites strictly separated, both by police-enforced neighborhood boundaries and in public organizations like the Boy Scouts. Young black males began forming their own groups, clubs where they could find a sense of belonging. Fighting between rival clubs became part of that culture, but the only weapons then were a strong pair of fists.

The 1950s were a period of black prosperity in Los Angeles, fed by the abundance of industry-based jobs. By the end of the decade, however, those industries began to disappear, resulting in high rates of unemployment. This downward economic spiral along with years of prejudice, racial profiling and heavy-handed police methods, produced an explosive situation. In 1965, a routine traffic stop erupted into full-scale civil conflict on the streets of Watts. The FBI killed and jailed many leaders of the era’s Black Pride Movement, and without strong leadership to steer youth in positive directions, gangs became active once more. This time, their weapons were guns.

In the film, current gang members describe gang life and the status, protection and other benefits membership gives them, painting a bleak picture of the physical, social and personal devastation that is the hallmark of South Los Angeles. Academics and other experts, including California State Senator Tom Hayden and author Gerald Horne, suggest ways of solving underlying problems, rather than just attacking gang-related street violence. Meanwhile, the most promising solutions may come from the people in the neighborhood itself, where former gang members and other concerned individuals have taken on the task of working with young people and providing a positive alternative to gang membership.

Director Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z Boys, Riding Giants) brings his trademark dynamic visual style and storytelling ability to this often-ignored chapter of America's history. Hard-hitting, yet ultimately hopeful, Crips and Bloods not only documents the emergence of the Bloods and the Crips and their growth beyond the borders of South Central, but also offers insight as to how this continuing tragedy might be resolved.

12 comments:

erin@designcrisis said...

Holy shizz, this sounds awesome!

clorivak said...

Oooo...right up my alley..:P

I love docs, especially about the streets! Thanks for the heads up about this one.

The Seeker said...

Maybe too bloody...????

xoxo

ambika said...

Oh, I loved Dogtown and how Stacy Peralta approached the subject. I'm interested to see how he tackled this.

ASSHOLE BOYFRIEND said...

"Gangland" on the History Channel covers a different gang each week. Aryans, Asians, Mexican, Guatamalans, the list goes on and on (in the Valley and in south and east central LA there are over 500 Latin Gangs alone (I say Latin because not all are Mexican). Each gang, like the Crips and the Bloods, had an excuse as to why they were formed, but all are common thugs now who would shoot you in the face if you blew air in their direction. It's an insult to the men and women who had the self respect to not join a gang to say joining a gang was a necessity and it's a bigger insult to their ethnicity. Only the communities that have the gangs can stop them, not white clueless politicians throwing money at them with gang prevention programs or new rec centers, it's the home communities that are in the middle of it, that need to stick their foot in gang ass and say "Take it somewhere else."

Chessa! said...

this sounds so good. Mr. S and I watch all of these gangshows on history channel and msnbc and national geographic. they are so interesting and pretty scary too.

Elizabeth Marie said...

I love this kind of stuff! I am addicted to Lockup or whatever that is, and the first 48 all that creepy stuff yum yum. Plus this is right in our own backyard how fabulous hahaha. XO

Felicia said...

I get PBS's Independent Lens update e-mails, so I've been waiting for this one. Can't wait, although I have about 10 still on my DVR!!

gangsta bride said...

real talk- bout time someone got these bitches into hollywood.

Keeley said...

This sounds like it's right up my alley! I need to stop reading about all the past serial killers in Oregon and focus on something not on my turf!

Hanako66 said...

sounds super interesting...

Dan W Johnson said...

I watched this last night, it was awesome...