Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Black Gold The Story of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation|
Actor: Black & Gold
Director: Big Noise Films
In 1994, the Latin Kings - the largest and most powerful street gang in New York - became the Latin King and Queen Nation. They claimed to have abandoned their criminal past and to be following in the footsteps of the Blac... more »
A New York gang transforms itself
Harriet Vane | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thought-provoking, deep, at times heart-breaking, this video brings to life a new movement on New York's streets. With the extraordinary access granted to the film-makers, it is possible to enter a world few outsiders know and begin to understand it on its own terms. It is a world shaped by urban poverty with no visible escape, racism and violence. Yet there is hope here as Black & Gold follows the attempt by Latin King Tone to move the organization from the gang-life to political awareness and struggle.
Through interviews with King Tone, this documentary succeeds in showing the leadership's vision in this fundamental and fraught transformation. In the interviews with Richie Perez, educator and political activist since his work with the Young Lords in the 1970's, it succeeds in providing historical and political framework for this change. It situates the effort in the history of struggle, and a context of failing schools and social infrastructure, lack of jobs, a growing prison-industrial complex, and a society that does not value vast numbers of its population. Through interviews with other leaders and footage of meetings and marches, there is lasting and vital sense of what being part of the Latin Kings and Queens means to the membership -- how it represents a new family, a sense of self-worth and belonging, and an aspiration for a better future. There are some brilliant reflections on the role of women in the organization and their struggle against enduring machismo. It also contains a devastating indictment of the violence that so many youth confront in their daily lives, not just from each other in the struggle for survival, but from the state. The scenes of police brutality may shock those who are not from the world of the inner city, but it is desperately important that everyone in this country understand the role that police play in our neighborhoods, and its cost to families and the entire nation.
The only thing I really felt was absent was a deeper analysis of how far King Tone actually succeeded in transforming the Latin Kings and Queens, how far they were able to move from the criminal to the political. But that is a story that probably required the distance for time to really tell...But for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of life and struggle in the inner city, this is truly amazing film, I have seen none better. And those from the inner city cannot fail to see their own realities reflected here. Perez is worthy of so much respect and love, I have heard few people explain so clearly the hows and whys of what we face and what shapes our lives. I know a number of teachers who use this in their classes, and it is easy to see why."