I made Crips and Bloods: Made in America because I was interested, as a filmmaker and as a resident of Los Angeles, in investigating why gang violence has been going on uninterrupted in Los Angeles for more than four decades. I could not understand why this was going on in America, and why no viable solution has ever been put into place. And it did not make sense to me; our country defeated Nazi Germany and Japan simultaneously, and in less than a decade, but we can’t stop gang violence. It made me wonder if as a society we would find a solution to this problem if it were affluent white teenagers who were killing each other instead of poor African American teenagers.
Kumasi, one of the principle characters in the film says this, “Part of the mechanics of oppressing people is to pervert them to the extent that they become their own oppressors.” I believe these young men involved in gang violence are carrying out their own extinction, and the very sad truth is that our society is allowing this to happen. I hope people who view the film see these gang members as human beings caught up in a tragic nightmare, and not as the animals and demons the media has made them out to be.
I believe people should see this film because this is a human rights issue that is happening inside of America, and it’s happening every day in many of our largest cities—but it happens in silence. These young men are dying in silence and they are being incarcerated in silence. More people have been killed due to gang violence in Los Angeles than the long running sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, yet very few know this fact. Young children in South Los Angeles are experiencing greater levels of post-traumatic stress disorder than children living in Bagdad, Iraq. This is happening inside of our country.
Stacy Peralta, Director
In 2000, after retiring from professional skateboarding, Stacy Peralta wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Dogtown and Z-Boys, a chronicle of the birth of modern skateboard culture, which won both the Directors Award and the Audience Award at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. The film then went on to win Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards and was released internationally through Sony Pictures Classics. His next film, Riding Giants, examined surf culture and was the first documentary ever to open Sundance.
Crips and Bloods: Made in America was not only Peralta’s most personal project, but also his most difficult. Fifteen years in the making, Crips and Bloods is an insider’s look at a subject that few on the outside know anything about.
Baron Davis, Producer
Growing up in Los Angeles, Baron Davis’s first love was the game of basketball. With encouragement from his grandmother, Lela Nicholson, Davis excelled on the blacktop courts of his South Central neighborhoods, earning a scholarship to the prestigious Crossroads High School in Santa Monica. Attending school alongside numerous entertainment industry prodigies, he developed a lasting affinity for film and filmmaking and discovered his more artistic side.
After seven years in the NBA, Davis formed Verso Entertainment, his own production company. Produced in collaboration with director Stacy Peralta, Crips and Bloods: Made in America is Verso’s first feature documentary.
Cash Warren, Producer
Shaun Murphy, Producer
Gus Roxburgh, Producer