Reality: Family, Community, The Truce

Imperial Courts Cap Video Workshop, 1994.

0:08  Title Sequence, consisting of ‘INCREASE THE PEACE!!!’ slogan and production company.

0:21   In a large venue with a giraffe decal, a male performer raps “about our past” of gang violence. He concludes “we’ve got a long way to go”.

1:39   Female speaker outside, calling for a protest in the tradition the Civil Rights movement and other protests of the Sixties and Seventies.

2:08   Interview with female subject inside a classroom, who observes a recent increase in community attention to gang violence. This attention spans generations. 

2:47  Giraffe decal venue, new female speaker/performer raps about deaths due to gang violence. She calls the victims “innocent kids”. 

3:23  Outside footage of a peace protest in Oakwood, California. Footage opens on placards reading “give peace a chance”. Chants of “We want peace” are repeated.  

3:43   Interview with male subject, outside. He calls for a widespread change in attitude with the potential to create a better future ‘for our young people to grow up in’. 

3:59   Footage of men from several different Southern Californian gangs speaking to a larger crowd, emphasizing their collected unity “as black men”. They call for an end to criminal gang activity with the goal of decreased legal intervention in their community. 

5:07  Footage of male subject, inside. In a series of ‘what if’s, he calls for collective unity among different gangs and ethnic groups against the “real enemy”.

5:22  Interview with male subject, outside. He calls for inter-gang unity against the widespread violence that affects people of all intersecting communities. Identifies African American and Latinx communities as “the two major minorities in America”. 

5:48  Outside performance by two men (one African American, one Latino) who rap in Spanish and English about the similarities between their communities, calling for unity in front of a large, mixed race crowd. 

7:47  Interior footage of three school-age children in a classroom who discuss the growing non-white population in their communities. 

8:08  Footage of a male speaker, outside. Cautions that the future is compromised “if we reduce this struggle to a struggle between black and brown”.

8:16  Interview with a male subject in a white tank top, outside. He criticises that society offers “nothing in return” for gang members who commit to reform. 

8:42  Footage of a male speaker, outside. Speaking to a large, rallying crowd, he calls for “jobs” to be made available to those who successfully turn from gang violence and criminal activity. 

8:57  Interview with a male subject, outside. He considers the generational nature of gang activity, arguing that only offering reformed gang members jobs and family counselling will prevent the next generation from following in their original footsteps. Midway through his statement footage of a protest is played over the dialogue. 

9:13  Interview with the female subject in a classroom continues. She observes that belonging is key to the successful reform and unity of gang violence. 

9:23  Giraffe decal venue, female performer who encourages the use of a “mind as a weapon” in a rap. 

9:46  Interview with the male subject in a white tank top continues. He cites the role of education in successful and lasting reform, referring to his own experiences in which a college education led to his permanent turn from violent crime and gang activity. 

10:39  Female speaker, inside. She states in Spanish and English: “[y]ou don’t have to get there first, but you have to know how to get there”. She calls for an end to the inequality that has existed in America “since Columbus”.

11:15  Pixellated footage of a male rapper, whose performance encourages that his community doesn’t give up in their struggle against inequality. 

11:21  Interview with the male subject in the white tank top continues. He suggests unity between different marginalised groups (Latinx, African American, Jewish) to push against the government and police, who are constantly “dictating to us”. 

11:50  Black and white footage of parents and children chanting “friends, friends, why can’t we be friends”. 

12:00  Colour footage of school-age students in a classroom performing the same chant. 

12:11  Black and white footage of a crowded protest; the attendees perform the same chant. 

12:16Copy video clip URL Black and white footage of two women dancing with the chant playing in the background. 

12:18  Same school-age children; one child breaks from the chant into a rap solo about “unity”. 

12:34  Footage of Latino and African American performers from before, with the school-age students’ chanting overheard in the background. 

12:47  School-age students from before continue chanting; the other child breaks from the chant for a rap solo about interracial unity. This is interspersed with footage of children. 

13:17  Interview with a female subject, outside. She is asked how she feels about the current state of gang activity, and replies that she has seen a significant change. She adds, “I wish it could have happened before”. 

13:29  Footage of a protest, which pans from placards reading “Support the Truce” to the protesters themselves, chanting, “We want peace”. 

13:40Copy video clip URL Interview with female subject in a classroom continues. She speaks about her daughter’s interaction with gang members, noting “[a] lot of them are gone now”. She reflects on the high level of youth mortality among gang members. 

14:32  This interview fades and is overlayed over footage of the “Support the Truce” protest. 

14:43  The protest is brought into full view and sound.

14:48  Interview with female subject in a classroom continues. She cites one example of a seventeen year old boy who, after a childhood of criminal activity, was concerned for his future as he moved away from gang violence and gang activity. 

15:31  Interview continues, against footage of young men socialising, smoking, and speaking to one another. The subject calls for a community counselling center to help ex-gang members adjust to life outside of criminal activity. 

15:59  Footage of a woman rehearsing a joint spoken word and musical performance. The phrase ‘run, Freedom’ acts as a refrain. 

16:18  Rehearsal continues against footage of cars on an open road in California. 

16:30Copy video clip URL The performer is back in view, and continues rehearsing. 

16:47  Footage of a sunset over an urban space, with no sound. 

16:54  Dimly lit interview with a male subject, who recalls 1973 as the “first time” different gangs attempted to unify.

17:02  The interview continues, recalling that an undercover police force prevented any real change by instigating further violence. Footage of Bobby Lavender (photographs and video clips) overlays the sound. 

17:22Copy video clip URL Footage of Bobby Lavender and newspaper articles documenting this time continue, against the interview playing in the background. The subject states that the purpose of an interracial, inter-gang truce was to “stop black men from slaughtering and assassinating one another”, and that unity is the key to combatting violence. 

17:49  Footage of a female speaker and mixed race children in front of a large rally to support the truce. The speaker claims that “love is unity” and that “peace takes a lot of devotion”. 

18:09  Dimly lit interview with male subject continues. He calls for unity between ethnic groups, and outside of “the system” to support and enact change. 

18:19  Shots of protest footage with the black panther symbol overlayed. In the background, a male speaker rallies for peace to an audible crowd. 

18:24  Footage of a male performer in the giraffe decal room. He claims “we [African Americans] are the victims of genocide”, and transitions from speaking to rapping. His performance notes that there is no historical precedent for unity. 

22:00Copy video clip URL Footage of a group performance (male and female) in the giraffe decal room. As they perform, the camera pans over their mixed race, multi-generational audience. Their performance is heard in the background as clips of all previous performers are shown. 

22:50  Footage of a male speaker in the giraffe decal room calling for peace. 

22:55  Intertitle reading “INCREASE THE PEACE”.

22:58  Intertitle reading “In memory of Bobby Lavender”. 

22:42  Credits.

23:55  Intertitle reading “INCREASE THE PEACE”.





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