The Bandana Republic contains powerful writing: fiction and essays, poetry, and polemics written by adolescents from gangs like the Crips and Bloods and the Mexican Mafia. There's also creative work by ex-gangbangers who have become activists, artists, musicians, and movie stars.
J. Sheeler's "Seven Immortals" finds grim poetry in a young girl's gang initiation. Jaha Zainabu's "The Jungle (Blood Territory)" is a lacerating portrait of an L.A. Blood. Commander's "The Brothas Gunnin'" piercingly profiles a neighborhood - and a world - under siege.
These writings give voice to an American subculture far richer and more complex than the headlines indicate.
©2008 Louis Rivera, Bruce George; (P)2008 Audible
"The energy and emotion in this anthology are maintained throughout the production in a myriad of ways. The mix of vocal talent adds to this collection of essays, poetry, fiction, and memoirs on what it means to survive in the world of gangs, violence, and drugs. Many of the narrators are activists, survivors, and icons from within the community, thus legitimizing both the book and audiobook." (AudioFile)
I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this book, I didn't realize it was so much poetry but I gave it a shot and much to my surprice I thought it was really good. The readers are very good and poems/prose like Letter to My Son by Luis J. Rodriguez are incredibly moving. I liked this book and it has probably given my some insight into a world I did not know much about (and into the hearts of men)
Irrational, but True
With incredible integrity, this anthology explores inner city ghetto life in general, and gang life in particular, through the poetry and creative writing of its constituents.
This is not t a journey for the faint hearted, nor the closed minded. No matter who who are, your beliefs and preconceptions are bound to be challenged along the way. The story is told from all sides, not just the dark side of gang violence, but the causal side of the socioeconomic forces and cultural dynamics that drive and perpetuate the underlying movements and structures. The dark side is well represented, as well as the light--the lesser known story of gang history and lore that has its roots in social clubs and community organizations whose aims and aspirations were no more and no less than the advocacy and advancement of the oppressed.
To express the Complex myriad of perspectives and thoughts and emotions carried therein is an impressive lineup of talented orators, verbalists, and lyricists such as Chuck D.
Is most of the work included in this anthology is by, at best, amateurs, the contents are expectedly and understandably uneven, ranging from the pedestrian and superficial to the profound and truly extraordinary. I would offer my opinion the most mundane work included within is well worth your time and contemplation if for no other reason then the undeniable and to most in comprehensible reality that pervades it's every word.
Whatever you might think thoughts being expressed, No reader or listener could legitimately contest or deny the visceral quality of its authenticity. And for those few works inside these chapters that stand out among the rest, they will leave with the reader or listener a long shadow that will linger over them for some time long after they've stepped away. Love it or hate it, Bandana Republic will tend to leave its mark not only upon your mind, but upon your soul. The depth of its pronouncements and the breath of its reach staying with you, indeed haunting you, and beckoning you to listen again.
This collection was full of very similar poems that seemed to take up a lot of time. While the prose was interesting, it felt like listening to some similar stuff. Some authors didn't seem to add a lot of perspective to gang life, making the anthology lack perspective overall.
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