I grew up in South Central LA. It’s where my family is, it’s where many of my friends are and it’s where I learned to play basketball. Having grown up in this area, I know what it’s like to be surrounded by gang violence, so when Stacy Peralta approached me to produce his documentary, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, I jumped at the chance to get involved. I had two goals for the film. First, I wanted to show people about why we have gangs in our inner cities, because unless you understand the history you can’t address the issue. And second, I wanted to show people what we can do to resolve this.
Until we stop looking at these kids as monsters we will never break the cycle of gang violence. People need to understand that in communities in which family units have broken apart and there are few, if any, economic opportunities, gangs become like surrogate families, identities.
Throwing people in jail is not going to solve this problem. As NFL great and youth advocate Jim Brown says in our film, “If more police or jails were the solution, the problem would have been fixed 30 years ago.” If we are going to address this issue in a meaningful way, we need a new approach.