Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Literature by Gang Members and Their Affiliates

A recently publishished anthology, The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates is sure to raise some eyebrows and, hopefully, get people talking about gangs, why they exist, their history, how to help them, and also how their members and affiliates can possibly help others.

I'm proud to say that I have some poems in this project. I want to thank the great Louis Reyes Rivera (a gifted poet and teacher) for recognizing how my work could contribute to such an anthology. Rivera and Bruce George edited this collection which includes essays, poems, letters, short stories, and interviews, by folks who, at some point in their lives, have been associated with urban gangs.

I'm honored to be included with the other writers, including Ruby Dee, Oscar Brown Jr., Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr., The Last Poets, Akua Njeri, Willie Perdomo, T. Rodgers, Luis J. Rodriguez, Malik Yoba, and many more. My work can be found under my previous name: Alicia Benjamin-Samuels.

If you're in New York City, there are two booksignings that you can check out:

Hue-Man Books
Monday, June 9, 2008, at 6 p.m.
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (125th St.)

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Tuesday, June 24, 2008, at 7 p.m.
236 East 3rd St. (between Avenues B & C), at 7pm.

Here's what Jim Brown has to say in the introduction:
The Bandana Republic is the most provocative, researched, educational, opinionated piece of work that I have ever read . . . In its own provocative way, The Bandana Republic makes you think, reflect, cry. I recommend to all of you, and to all people who purchase this anthology: read it, learn from it, try to draw your own conclusions. What you have in front of you is a reflection of every revolutionary, every victim that ever lived in this country. Color, gender, race, religion . . . it does not matter. Only the individual dealing with correctness, fairness, love and caring, multiplied a billion times, will ever bring about the proper change in human behavior. Read this anthology, and then check yourself.

Here's a blurb from the book's publisher, Soft Skull Press:
Urban youth gangs and street associations are viewed more often than not as training grounds for thugs and felons. Left out are their members' emotional sensitivities, their political consciousness, their individual and collective capacities to assess the social conditions that gave rise to the need for such associations. Not included in the popular dialogue on gangs is the creative impulse that has continued to manifest in popular culture -- from the birth of the Blues to Rag Time and Swing, to BeBop, Doo Wop and Hip Hop.

You can purchase this provocative piece of literature from


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Alicia!
So....what's your affiliation with gang members?

Cappuccino Soul said...

Thanks so much.
As Daniel Plainview in "There Will Be Blood" said, "I don't like to talk about those things."