If Hip Hop Was a Movie: South Central
So many times, the violence associated with the Black American community raises questions of morality and humanity. South Central provides an explanation in cinematic form. The bloods and the crips were founded as organizations to protect African Americans from terrorism. State-sanctioned brutality through the judicial arm of the government, the police, has caused Black Americans to organize themselves every other generation against the violence. Routinely disenfranchised, African Americans found it difficult to enjoy social mobility in the form of gainful employment, business loans, home loans, etc. A quick study of American Law shows that much of it is founded on “black codes” and slavery. Similarly, much of American housing law is a colonial hangover leftover based on contracting Native Americans out of their land and rights, resulting in the trail of tears/broken treaties.
South Central Los Angeles in the 1990s
When African Americans have had enough, they organize something like the black panthers, the national panhellenic divine 9 greek letter organizations, or in this case, the blood and the crips. The group NWA and other west coast rappers mused to no end about being cops killers without remorse. American police, unfortunately, have their roots in a party of people called slave-catchers whose sole purpose was to return runaway slaves to plantations. The plantations are now mostly privately owned prisons wherein black men primarily find themselves subject to performing free labor for major corporations.
If Hip Hop were a Movie, this film would be Gangster Rap.
The blood and the crips, while well-intended, would eventually succumb to corruption. The good and bad of their communal contributions would go from blurred to all bad. On the one hand, they were a collective of male protectors and providers for a community whose rights were not guaranteed by the American government, who gave an official apology over a decade ago for putting crack cocaine in their communities (literally). On the other hand, they were scarcely regulated menaces to society.
South Central: Deuce-Deuce
South Central tells the coming of age story of Bobby Johnson, who took one for the team when he did a 10-year sentence for murdering the leader of a rival South Central Los Angeles gang. Bobby Johnson (Glenn Plummer), like so many African American men who have been incarcerated, discovers renewed hope and faith with the help of a Muslim inmate. Upon his release, he finds the mother of his son Jimmie, strung out on the same crack our government apologized for flooding into African American communities nationwide. Bobby’s preteen son, Jimmie (Christian Coleman), joined Deuce-Deuce. Mortal tensions rise between Bobby and the head of the gang as he fights the gang for his son Jimmie who has already served time as a juvenile. Jimmie fights a battle within himself. Due to his father’s absence and his mother’s drug addiction, the deuce-deuce is the only family he has ever known. A cautionary tale found relatable by millions of African Americans.