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  • Writer's pictureBulelwa Mthombothi

Review: Crack; Cocaine, Corruption and Conspiracy.

The scourge of crack cocaine in lower income communities in America is

truth we all know about, if not from rap lyrics, it’s from movie scenes and all

over the entertainment sphere. We know it disproportionately affected

communities of colour, more so those populated by black people. This fact is

appalling when you consider that at some point the majority of users were

white. The documentary explores the inception of the problem and the

reaction of the government and how that culminated in a situation that

affected black and brown people decades later to this present day.

Ripple or domino effects are always a wonder to watch, that stack of

dominoes hitting each other gives you a dose of excitement as you see

them crashing in an organized frenzy. Fun right? Well in government, a

domino effect can result in dire consequences for the public. This

documentary plays out like a domino effect because it chronicles the life of

crack from how it got to the American shores to the over two decades

journey it took to ruin people’s lives concluding in jail cells. The story I

believe is also about the US government’s glaring inadequacies in dealing

with problems faced by black and brown people and how racism and the

resultant dehumanization robbed people of their basic human rights and


The crack epidemic had an enormous effect on the American political

landscape as it gave rise to ideas and interventions which would later prove

to have been more destructive than helpful. Political careers alleviated, as

government agencies conspired to destabilise other countries with no care

to how those actions would affect their own people. Chronicles of disregard

are packed into this film by way of chapters so you can see the building

blocks of what they called the “crack epidemic” which was just a long con in

my opinion. A con to rob black and brown communities of their dignity in

order to facilitate government mandated slavery in the form of prisons.

With further reading one can place that the crack epidemic and the narrative

Industrial Complex which is basically a form of slavery. As prison

populations grew a hundred times as a result of militarization of the police

due to a crackdown on crack, the government started outsourcing prions to

private companies. Those prisons were filled with black and brown people

who worked as labourers for next to nothing and still do– SLAVERY.

It is a heart-breaking watch for anyone with a soul because it’s a stark

representation of how policies and inaction can lead to massive human

rights violations. How helpless people are to governments that purport to

protect but in actuality do more harm than good. The crack epidemic was

conspired, an aspect that is not explored enough because of how

disparaging the implication is to the US government.

In the Cartoon Network adult satirical cartoon Boondocks, one of the main

characters, Huey (voiced by Regina King) says; “Ronal Reagan was the

devil.” This documentary explores Reagan’s complicity and how he played a

crucial role in the epidemic but it also lets us know that he wasn’t the only

one. It is a system that continues to disparage because that is what is was

built to do.

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