1. Yellow Benjy Melendez on the History of the Ghetto Brothers (VIDEO).

    8 Million Stories: Yellow Benjy from Andreas Vingaard on Vimeo .

    Andreas Vingaard’s excellent 8 Million Stories interview series continues with a video portrait of Benjy Melendez, a/k/a “Yellow Benjy,” the founder and leader of the Ghetto Brothers . A street gang turned community organization, the GBs were responsible for helping the South Bronx emerge from out of the gang-dominated days of the early ’70s by brokering a peace treaty amongst rival clubs (i.e. the famous Hoe Avenue Boys Club meeting – attended by a young member of the Black Spades who would later be known as Afrika Bambaataa). This after Benjy’s friend and Ghetto Brothers’ peace minister Cornell “Black Benjy” Benjamin was killed while trying to break up a gang fight in late 1971. Benjy also recalls the evolution of the Ghetto Brothers band – the organization’s musical spin-off – which would record one album of Latin soul, funk and Beatles-influenced rock, Power-Fuerza , that’s become one of the “holy grails” of the rare record collecting scene. A reissue of the LP is slated for later this year via Truth & Soul Records. For more info on the GB’s check out ghettobrothersnyc.com .

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