With the demise of the 1960s gang scene in NYC came an unlikely fruit. A few South Bronx gang members (Benjy, Robert and Victor) rooted in the Melendez family unit grew to form a musical group known as the Ghetto Brothers. While the crew had been immersed in the violent and criminal parts of gang life, Benjamin “Yellow Benjy” Melendez social consciousness and focus towards Puerto Rican nationalism in time moved his people more and more towards positive community building. Journalist Jeff “Chairman” Mao elaborates:
“By mid-1971, Benjy’s social conscience and interest in Puerto Rican nationalism dovetailed with the rise of young urban activist groups like the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Catching the revolutionary spirit in the air, the Ghetto Brothers eradicated junkies and pushers from their neighborhood, cleaned parks and garbage-strewn empty lots, and participated in clothing drives and breakfast programs.”
We tickle your fancy a bit? Well, as it turns out, the Ghetto Brothers will be reissuing their rare and truly unique 1972 Latin Rock album Power Fuerza as a deluxe edition, including “remastered audio and extensive 80-page liner notes booklet, with rarely-seen photos and visual artifacts from gang members, plus interviews with group and cultural historians.” You know that liner booklet is going to have some gems.
Pre-Order Power Fuerza on Truth & Soul Records