Some things happened that may have warranted the police and FBI’s attention, such as Dr. Shakur being party to an armored truck robbery, which involved fatalities. No one ever really admits or denies that. J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO is mentioned, as is the RICO act, which put Dr. Shakur in prison for a long time. The Federal Bureau of Prisons would not even allow him to be interviewed for the documentary, so anything we see him say is from old recordings.
Another reason that Dope is Death rings true to me is right there in the title. Heroin is essentially death in powdered form. I have known so many people over the course of my life who have died due to overdoses of this nasty, awful drug. A few months ago, an old friend of mine from when I was a teenager passed away due to it. I hate heroin. I hate what it does to people. So did all of the revolutionaries in the Black Panthers and Young Lords who witnessed their friends and family members being taken out by this drug in overwhelming numbers.
If you believe the Black Panthers, they attribute heroin in poverty-stricken areas to the police and government. They believed “the pigs” wanted black and brown people to stay, for lack of a better term, f**ked up so that they would be easier to control. Is this true? We’ll never really know for sure, but I don’t find it that hard to believe at all.
“…did the best they could to bring themselves and their communities out of the gutter.”
Mia Donovan does an excellent job conveying the stories of the people involved with the Lincoln Detox Center and The Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA), which was an offshoot of the clinic after it was forcibly closed. We hear from two members of The Last Poets, Felipe Luciano and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, who was also involved with The Young Lords and the Lincoln Detox Clinic. We hear from Gonzalez, a co-host of Democracy Now, who helped with the founding of the clinic and was involved with the Young Lords. We hear from many revolutionaries and good citizens of their respective areas who did the best they could to bring themselves and their communities out of the gutter.
Basically, if you want to learn about some New York history from a revolutionary perspective, and I hope you do because that would make you really cool, please check out Dope is Death. While I have you here, I would also like to say, in the name of all that is holy, never do heroin. It ruins lives to this very day. The title of this movie is the truth!
Please give this amazing documentary a watch, it’ll make you see America in a different light, and we need to put this damn country under a microscope if we want to truly “make America great again.” By the way, my stomach is upset just from typing that phrase, but seriously, watch Dope is Death.
Dope is Death screened as part of the 2020 DOC NYC Film Festival.
"…heroin is essentially death in powdered form."