Documentary Highlights the Grim Side of Ghetto Gangsta Lifestyle
Bastards of the Party
Film Review by Kam Williams
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated TVMA for mature content, violence, profanity, and ethnic slurs.
Running time: 97 minutes
Contrary to the ghetto fabulous stereotype suggested by the bottomless bling and gratuitous booty calls of gangsta’ rap videos, the raw reality of the thug life is nothing to romanticize. That is the basic thrust of Bastards of the Party, the appropriately titled documentary which chronicles the rise of the Crips and the Bloods in S outh Central Los Angeles.
The movie was made by Cle Shaheed Sloan, a reformed gangbanger, now 34, who joined the Bloods at the age of 12. Given his street cred, Cle was afforded unusual access to current members for interviews. What quickly becomes obvious is that these lost boys invariably hail from broken homes and were in dire need of appropriate role models.
They dropped out of school, and start dealing drugs and doing drive-bys in a never-ending turf war which has gobbled-up the future of far too many. don't expect to see any altar boys here, just a lot of ready to rumble recidivists with itchy trigger-fingers.
As far fetched as this might sound, Cle makes a fairly convincing argument that the Bloods and Crips began because of a rivalry between the de-politicized Black Panthers and Kwanzaa creator Ron Karenga's U.S. Organization. His basic theory is that the federal government infiltrated both organizations and turned them against each other.
Regardless, the picture saves its most sobering moment for last when, as the credits roll, they show videos and stills of dozens of gangstas, first alive, and then lying dead in caskets as friends and family file by. Tuning-in to this HBO original ought to be mandatory for any at risk teen even considering the hard knock life.