Thursday, November 1, 2007

Gangster boogie

So... do “American Gangster” and “Mr. Untouchable” have you curious to know more about the Harlem underworld?

Tonight’s premiere of the History Channel series “Gangland” is also devoted to Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas, the rival heroin bosses of 1970s New York.

The History Channel interviewed both men (each of whom ended up in prison and then snitched out a hundred other drug dealers apiece and now they’re free).

Showtime is 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 8 p.m. Central. The episode will repeat on Friday, Monday and Tuesday.

And if you want even more of the Nicky and Frank show, New York magazine has published the transcript of a three-way conference call between Nicky Barnes, Frank Lucas and journalist Mark Jacobson, looking back on old times. It’s rather comical.


Comb & Razor said...

hmmm.... 9 pm, huh? that's, like, the same time as "The Office," ainnit?

looks like i'll have to catch a rerun. (yes, i am one of the last of the DVR-less!)

that New York piece was pretty cool, though... if Nicky is as funny in Mr. Untouchable as he is in there, i can't wait to catch the movie!

Dan Coyle said...

That transcript was a riot. Real characters, those two. Real characters.

Wanda said...

Watching it and its cool. BET's American Gangster had a bio on Frank Lucas yesterday and it was pretty good.

I bought the book "Mr. Untouchable" for my mother and she also read "American Gangster". From what she knows and read, both of them ruined the East Coast with the heavy import of heroin and vicious murder. And the did it unapologetically so.

In her opinion, Frank Lucas is very country, and she doesn't even know how he functioned in NY at all. Nicky Barnes can't stand the guy and the wife of Bumpy Johnson (who is actually still alive!) says everything that Lucas says about his relationship with her husband is a lie.

Even still though, I think it would be interesting to get a in depth documentary/coverage of black underworld in America. Maybe the History Channel will touch upon it in the future.

Undercover Black Man said...

Even still though, I think it would be interesting to get a in depth documentary/coverage of black underworld in America.

I absolutely agree, Wanda. The interesting thing is, the black underworld represents sort of the secret social history of urban black America in the 20th Century.

Back when it was all about the numbers racket, black numbers bosses owned Negro League baseball teams!

In more contemporary times, there's also an untold story to be done about the underworld's involvement in taking advantage of federal anti-poverty grants after the riots.

I can recommend an interesting book called "Black Brothers, Inc. : The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia's Black Mafia", which addresses this in part.

Wanda said...

thanks david. i had no idea that black gangsters owned Negro League teams. I'll try to find that book.