Message to the Grass Roots: Gang Truce: The International Scene

An episode of Message to the Grass Roots, a cable access talk show produced & hosted by Michael Zinzun from 1988-1998 at Pasadena Community Access Corporation, which is now Pasadena Media. Show #9411.

1:09Copy video clip URL Slate

1:25Copy video clip URL Titles and opening music.

2:10Copy video clip URL Host Michael Zinzun introduces the topic and guests for the show, Juan Longino and Twilight Bay. He talks briefly about the truce between the Crips and the Bloods, and implores the viewers to call in with questions. The guests talk about their efforts to expand the truce. They explain how Compton-area schools have dealt with opposing gang affiliations among their student population.

10:00Copy video clip URL Break. Video footage of rallies and testimony in favor of the truce, including speeches from Longino and Bay.

20:22Copy video clip URL The program returns. Zinzun explains that the guests have taken the cause of the truce to youth in the United Kingdom, and asks them to expand on the nature of the work they did there. Bay tells him that they spoke to gang members in Manchester, and that there was interest in the truce between the American gangs. He says that he advised them to watch out for opposition to this from government and police forces (after the fashion of COINTELPRO). Longino describes the meetings they organized (over still photos taken at the time), and claims that the UK gangs came to their agreement on their own, having realized that it was their best option. He declares that recent political developments are leading both the USA and UK to become police states. Zinzun agrees, pointing out that prison programs are the only solutions being proposed to deal with crime and anti-social behavior, but hoping that international consciousness-raising will act as a brake on this. Bay says that the Bloods and Crips have influence on youth throughout the world, though they may not realize this. He specifically mentions South Africa as a case in point.

29:58Copy video clip URL The program goes to a break. PSAs advocating for AIDS prevention, abortion access, and preservation of the rain forests are played, as is a promo spot for Message to the Grassroots featuring the endorsement of Ossie Davis. An ad for the African Marketplace in Pasadena is played. 

33:55Copy video clip URL The show returns. Zinzun advocates for state investment in the youth. He talks about the various initiatives associated with the truce, including a project to teach young people to silkscreen. Zinzun asks for the audience to call in, and Bay also shares his contact information. 

38:23Copy video clip URL Footage of young people gathered in a dark room; asked their opinion of the truce, they voice general approval. They gather in a rough circle and introduce themselves; a small group of them freestyle over footage of London taken from a moving car.  

42:23Copy video clip URL Footage of an English man being interviewed about the formation of a Black Panther style party in UK. This was done, he says, in response to declining social circumstances among black Britons.

44:25Copy video clip URL Return to footage of the rapping youths from before.  

46:45Copy video clip URL Montage of young men talking to the camera, thanking Longino and Bay.

47:55Copy video clip URL In the studio, Zinzun asks the guests about the hospitality they found in the UK; Bay relates his surprise at finding a supportive black community in the UK. He talks about the importance of linking struggles internationally. Longino laments that black people are pitted against each other through gang violence, which only benefits the system, and also decries racism from downtrodden whites, who he believes could otherwise be an ally in the common struggle. Zinzun invites viewers, especially gang members, to call in, and talks about community programs for youths which might support the gang truce. Longino again pleads for support for the gang truce, and implores the community to patronize the programs helping young people; Bay asks the local schools to allow those who organized the truce to address their students, and urges any gang members in the audience to “get political.”

59:19Copy video clip URL Closing music and credits.



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