East LA Gang Member – 3rd Generation Maravilla

Feb 13, 2022 2.9M Views 5.2K Comments

Join me as we meet 3rd generation Maravilla (gang) member Daniel Ayala. We’ll learn about East LA life, overcoming addiction, being a successful tattoo artist, raising his son away from the Maravilla (gang) lifestyle and teaching us what life is like from a radically different point of view than most of us have experienced.


► Daniel: https://www.instagram.com/marvelousink_tattoos
► Andy: https://www.instagram.com/focus__la/


► Daniel’s tattoo salon: https://www.instagram.com/marvelousink_tattoos
► Birrieria Hernandez taco truck: https://birrieriahernandez.godaddysites.com/

♪ hip hop ♪
Good afternoon, guys.
Today we’re going to East LA
to meet a deep-rooted,
very proud Chicano native.
He’s also a tattoo artist
and Maravilla member.
I’ll tell you more about that
in the video…
And educator.
Should be a super-interesting one.
East LA
from my limited time there,
is its own world within Los Angeles.
Super-interesting place.
You’re gonna like this,
let’s go.
♪ hip hop ♪
Okay guys, so we’re here with Daniel
my buddy Andy
Daniel’s son.
-Your name again?
And now we’re in the heart of it, right?
This is East LA.
Yeah, this is East LA,
McDonald and Whittier Boulevard.
People typically judge us.
Like all the Cholos have
high socks or whatever.
You know, you don’t gotta
wear high socks to be a Cholo
or nothing like that, you know?
These would be considered my socks anyway.
You never do your own tats,
that’s impossible, right?
Yeah, I’ve done these tattoos.
-You did these tats?
-Yeah, these were back in the days.
It’s not professional work
or anything like that.
Here we go.
East Los Maravilla.
We’re in an active neighborhood,
so as we’re walking
You guys…
Just… If anything…
You guys just walk the other way.
You know what I mean?
Yeah, you guys walk the other way.
It’s active still, you know what I mean?
Yeah, away from me. [chuckles]
‘Cause I will most likely
be the focus on the attention.
Okay, so walk us through that,
what is that?
Maravilla is what?
For those that don’t know.
So Maravilla is actually a town.
It’s not a gang per se
until maybe after the 1930s or ’40s
when the city of Los Angeles
or the county
enforced their laws and restrictions
and actually identified us a group
of combatants or people that…
that were mischievous,
you know what I mean?
Like the zoot suiters and stuff like that.
or the pachucos.
You know, in the zoot suit days,
my grandfather’s days
a lot of the naval personnel
would come down here
and they would come and party
and go to bars or hit the dance halls
and stuff like that
and pick up women of course.
But you have our pachucos or Chicanos
they’re trying to enjoy themselves
with their girls or their ladies and stuff,
you know what I mean?
And some guys were very disrespectful
and one thing in our culture
or with our people
we’re very high on respect.
You know, the way you conduct yourself,
whether you’re looking a man in his eyes
when you’re talking to him.
When you meet somebody,
you shake their hand
and you identify yourself,
you know what I mean?
It’s all in how you grow up,
your etiquette, your morals.
Just your character,
you know what I mean?
So there would be
a lot of fights that would break out.
The police at the time would side,
of course with the Navy
and a lot of our people
ended up getting thrown in jail
and yeah, we just felt
that we had to protect our…
This is our home,
you know what I mean?
This is where we’re raised and stuff
and to have somebody
from the outside come in and
treat our people any way they wanted to
it just wasn’t gonna happen.
This is all Maravilla.
So when you go to different blocks
like that side of Olympic
would be Fort Maravilla.
There’s over 20 different cliques
of Maravilla.
You got Moria.
On that side you got the projects
which a lot of cliques
came out of the projects.
Rascals Maravilla, High Times, Rock.
I mean it’s active, yeah.
There’s a lot of people trying
to earn their name.
A lot of, I call it hyper-masculinity.
Where you got a lot of younger
that are trying to make their bones.
Trying to earn a name for themselves.
So they want to prove
to the next man how down they are.
-You grew up here, right?
So when you grew up here
you’re part of that immediately, right?
‘Cause that’s what you grew up into?
Yeah, I mean it would depend
on your family
or who you’re surrounding yourself with.
My story is I’m third generation Maravilla.
So my grandfather, born in 1918
He was a first generation,
my dad, born in 1940
he’s a second generation.
He was from Arroya Maravilla
and then I’m third generation
born in ’82.
My son is not a part of this.
No, he’s a good guy.
He’s a good man now.
You’re not interested in passing it on?
The third generation?
No, because now being from a gang,
I mean that’s a certain persona
you have to keep now.
Now it’s all about…
It’s really mischievous now, you know?
Back in the days it was all about respect.
Not to discredit it now
but it actually meant something.
Like, we were actually
fighting for something.
Believing in a certain cause.
When you enter the jail system
or the prison system
it becomes something totally different
and then it gets into politics
and it becomes something
that you start to realize that
we’re killing our own people.
We’re killing our own people while…
If you study and you get into other stuff
like politics of the United States
or whatever
and you realize that
we’re not only killing each other
but we’re also being killed out here
by the food that we’re consuming.
From different laws that are being passed
that we know nothing about
because we don’t study or read books,
you know what I mean?
You guys, Maravillas, Chicanos, who?
Yeah, us as a people specifically.
Couple of homeboys and we come…
Oh, sorry.
Daniel’s gonna make a call.
Oh, yeah.
We used to come
and we used to kick all these pay phones
until we broke this
and the change came out.
All of them, there’s probably
about 15 we’d hit.
You would just kick ’cause there’s
nobody driving down Whittier Boulevard
at 1:00 in the morning.
So you would just kick it ’til you
open the change thing and collect it.
Oh man,
when I was like 17 years old probably.
Yeah, those were just youth things
that we used to do.
You know these stores were…
You know, they looked like
good business owners but they were doing
a lot of crooked stuff too back then.
Selling dope for us or…
You know, just…
Just to make a little bit more money.
Yeah, back in the early 90s.
Even being more because…
We had disassociated ourselves
with a prison gang
that I don’t want to same the name out
but everybody knows who I’m talking about.
We had separated ourselves from them
so all the money
that we were trying to make
it had to do with ourselves, you know?
We no longer had somebody
that we could depend on
to get us anything
and we were doing stuff for ourselves.
You know, making our own money.
Not letting anybody tax us
or come in here and say
“This is what you gotta do.”
or “This is how much you gotta pay.”
“If you have any guns,
you gotta fork ’em over.”
Everything was ours for us.
So we really had to protect our own,
you know?
Once a place is home to you
you always…
It’s always home to you, you know?
From the food from a certain
smell you smell in the street.
The wet asphalt.
You know, from being used to
hearing the helicopter every night
and it becomes weird
when you’re in a place
and you don’t hear that anymore,
you don’t smell that anymore.
You don’t wake up to oldies.
You don’t wake up
to hearing certain music in the morning
or somebody coming and the car bumping
and everything is just
you’re not used to it, you know?
Like a person that
gets used to being in jail.
You know, a lot of people,
if you talk to them
that have been incarcerated
for long periods of time
they’re scared
to come out to society because…
Yeah, they don’t want to leave
and I say it in this sense because
you become used to somebody
telling you when to use the restroom.
You become used to eating
a certain food or a food habit.
You become privy to a lot of habits.
And out here it’s unpredictable.
Every day is…
You don’t know what’s gonna happen
You don’t know who you’re gonna meet.
You don’t know
what situations you’re gonna be put in
and a lot of people don’t want to be
put in certain circumstances
that they can’t control.
Just stay there…
Do you wanna be in control
in your environment?
Do you wanna be in control
of people around you?
You know, ’cause you’re safe like that.
You know what I mean?
If there’s something that’s happening
that you’re not in control of…
You know, something more than likely…
If you’re not an alpha male
something bad’s gonna happen.
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Now back to the video.
When you think about it
I got into my neighborhood in ’92.
-I was 10 years old, okay?
So 11 years old, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
I’m gang-banging.
And I got older grown men with these
big old mustaches
jumping out their car with a strap
trying to kill me.
You know what I mean?
And I’m a little boy.
So nowadays it’s like people
can’t comprehend that scenario
but it’s like that’s what we had to learn
to run before we could crawl
when we were little.
You know what I mean?
Right, so when you’re growing up
if you’re like,
“I don’t wanna be in this.”
It would be really hard, right?
Yeah, it would be super-hard.
‘Cause you’re breaking family ties
and everything, right?
Yeah, I mean if you’re family accepts it…
But you know, yeah, it’s kind of like
you’re breaking a tradition.
Which is like, “You know,
this is our hometown. We gotta protect it.”
and we’re not looking at it
as a gang thing.
As a mischievous act
or something that we’re gonna go out here
and rob these people
or we’re gonna go out here…
No, we’re just trying to
protect your body from a form of cancer.
You got a foreign person that
comes in here from a rival neighborhood
and he moves into
this apartment complex…
You know, more than likely,
he’s gonna start a neighborhood
or start influencing the kids
that go to the school around
and those kids
are gonna start to claim his stuff.
And it’s like all of a sudden
you got a foreign neighborhood
in here which
this is our righteous neighborhood.
That’s not gonna happen.
The more they come in
the more they want to control
and then you need to protect
or lose all control, right?
Yeah, you lose all control.
They start selling drugs
in your neighborhood.
They start doing whatever their
spirit entails
that they think they wanna do
being an alpha male,
that’s what they’re gonna do.
And you gotta stop that, you know?
So if you’re a beta male…
Let’s say everyone’s a beta male
they’re done in these neighborhoods?
Oh yeah.
The rival group is gonna come in
and take over 100%.
-It’s a dog eat dog world right here.
How is the hierarchy right now?
Is it very clear who’s at the top
and who’s not?
Um, I mean yeah
but then again, no.
Because now,
most of the generation of young kids
have kind of…
In our situation or our cortura.
Speaking on people
who are Hispanic or Latino
they kind of lost their heritage
and culture, you know?
You got let’s say the word,
I don’t know if I can say it or not…
-The n-word, right?
You got a lot of young youth
using that term.
Yeah, and back in the days…
Right, and back in the day…
I mean, now.
And then you got younger youth
using the B-word
and calling each other…
like in a friendly way.
You know,
they think of it as a friendly way but
in our days, that’s not nothing…
You don’t ever call a male that.
You don’t ever use that word with…
You’re gonna get cracked in your mouth
or even worse.
I’ve seen people get shot over it.
and that’s just something
you don’t do, bro.
Okay guys, so as an outsider
during the day it’s sunny out
the streets look fine,
people walking out and about.
When you say, “It’s active.”
Like, at any time it can just change?
as far as back in the 90s
and that’s what’s crazy about it
you know, I tell my kids
and they’d probably trip out.
There used to be 30 of us
walking in the middle of the street.
You know, banged out.
Wearing big-a** pants, size 48, 50s.
Big-a** jerseys…
Go straight.
This used to be a liquor store right here.
It’s in the movie, it’s a good movie.
It’s called Sideways.
It’s a cool Chicano movie
that you guys might want to check out.
It’s a nice mural here, bro.
I’m sorry.
Oh okay, no problem.
Oh, cool. Yeah.
So you guys are very artistic?
Fair to say?
I mean I see these murals everywhere.
But this is called The Diablos.
This is the dead ends.
And a lot of homeboys used to
congregate back in the 90s back there.
So you know, you got different dudes
that come over here and want to visit
or you know, that’s just an area
you don’t want to drive through
back in the days.
What changed things,
why did they get better?
A lot of gang injunctions.
A lot of homeboys, you know,
the laws changed
and you got the three
strikes that came out now and…
Three strikes, you’re in prison?
Yeah, you could steal a bubble gum
and you’re getting life.
So that’s Belvedere park right there.
We used to do drive by drills
where you actually had to get down
’cause they were doing
a lot of drive-bys back then.
Just in case so the kids wouldn’t get hit
or anything like that.
I also had to do them in
Griffith Middle School
or Elementary school where
you’d get under the desk
Just like an earthquake drill.
And shooting drills.
When you think about it,
you’re telling a kid to be careful
’cause of bullets.
Go to a nicer area and tell a kid that.
They’re probably not gonna want to
go to school, you know what I mean?
Yeah, for the most part.
Somebody’s either related
to somebody that’s a gang member
trying to start up a gang or
a tagging crew or stuff like that.
Growing up when I was younger and stuff
I was really into martial arts.
So I’d been training since
I was five years old.
Jiu jitsu, from judo to taekwondo.
I got a sponsorship actually
I ended up going to a lot of competitions
through the Junior Olympics.
I wont the gold medal,
two silver medals, and the bronze.
Yeah, doing
that and I ended up getting…
They dropped my sponsorship
after I got my tattoo on my stomach.
Yeah, after they noticed I got my tattoo.
So I ended up choosing a different path.
I got discouraged.
They didn’t want me being
an influence on the other kids, you know?
That were going there, you know?
Right here you got the Maravilla Projects.
Okay, what’s going on there?
So this is…
Now they put an injunction on us
for homeboys, you know,
you can’t be walking
on the sidewalk or in there
’cause you’ll get arrested.
Yeah, I will, not you.
Okay, why?
Because of the injunction that’s in place.
We can’t be around other gang members
or wear certain attire
that pertains to our neighborhood.
A lot of kids after school
used to walk over here
my friend Leno Zamora
would hook us up with ice creams.
His parents would get mad
or his uncle would get mad
because he was always
giving paleta shots away.
Right here you got
the Maravilla handball courts.
Where back in the days,
before me, before I was born
my dad, all the homeboys from
El Oyo, Lopez, Maravilla, the projects
would come here and play handball
with the homeboys and compete.
Along with removing the male
from the household
in our communities where you get
people put on welfare
and you could live in the projects,
the female with the children
but they removed the male,
the male’s not allowed to live with them.
With his kids.
So who’s raising
these men to be warriors
or alpha males or hunter-gatherers?
I can’t teach my daughter how to be a woman
and she definitely can’t teach
my young males to be a man
you know what I mean?
So that’s kind of messed up, you know?
We’re in this system
that we’re forced to live in, bro.
Along with the narratives
that they’re kicking off
with all the politics with
“Go vote for this.”
and “Go vote for that.”
Well, the decision’s already
been made for us, you know?
Who’s making the decision?
The certain group of people
that are pulling the strings,
you know what I mean?
And sending our young children
to take over this land and…
They just want…
Imagine somebody coming into your house
and kicking in the door
and saying, “You’re a combatant.”
when you’re not.
You live a certain way,
you keep these old traditions alive.
You’re actually going to go
and pick out the husband
the male that’s gonna marry your daughter.
Which they still hold
those traditions, bro.
We don’t
We tell our women that they’re women,
oh, they don’t need a man.
You know, women
can do everything a man can do.
When in actuality,
not to downgrade women at all
women are beautiful
but they shouldn’t be doing things
that males do, you know what I mean?
We should be raised to be
that alpha male to protect our women
and our children,
and raise, and protect our family.
Point blank.
Taco truck situation.
They have fish tacos, shrimp tacos,
and then you got birria.
Which are birria tacos.
You wanna get one of these
and you wanna dip it in there.
You got a soft taco
so you might just want to pour it on there
but usually it’s meant
to just dip in there.
You can put some lime and
some salsa… What is this?
That’s the broth it’s made in.
Usually you eat it
like in a stew or a soup
but this time what they do
is they take the meat out of the stew
and put it in the taco.
Funny because it ends up going back in.
You end up dipping it.
How do these look?
They look good, bro.
Is that like
a guacamole sauce or something?
That’s a good one.
Junior, fire?
Let’s fire bomb this thing.
Make you grow hair on your chest.
What about my head?
Good right?
-So good.
What is it about the truck
that makes a better taco?
It’s fresh,
I don’t think it lasts very long.
It’s very accessible
to people on the sidewalks
and you can just pull up
It’s almost like a drive-thru.
So a lot of the times it’s made fresh
and it doesn’t last very long
on the truck, you know?
A lot of this food will be gone
by the end of the night, so it’s fresh.
Just dip it in.
Drench it a little bit, take a bite.
Delicious, unbelievable.
This is like… This is go.
All right guys,
if you’re in the neighborhood
This is the food truck.
[church bells]
So this guy right here,
he pulled up.
This guy in the Mercedes
and he came in kind of aggressive
and then he looked at Daniel,
Daniel looked back at him.
Daniel was about to sit down
but where Daniel was gonna sit down at
his back was gonna be against him.
So what Daniel did is he went around
and he stood up the whole time
That’s why you were
standing up the whole time?
-‘Cause of that dude?
I already knew so I was already watching.
But that’s the crazy part,
that’s how…
You know, where I grew up,
that’s something you did.
You always looked out everywhere.
And I do this all the time
but if you go into places
you back in your car.
just in case you’re ready to go.
But it’s just something,
not because you feel like
you’re gonna be in dang…
It’s just…
Something that’s already in you.
You gotta take it like this, bro.
We’re rare out here.
To be blunt and honest with you.
We’re… You gotta really be strategic
’cause the day you decide to relax
or be comfortable,
that’s the last day you’re gonna see.
Like, really… In reality there’s
always somebody trying to make a name
and you don’t wanna get got.
Especially by a young kid.
I mean… [chuckles]
“Oh, there’s a guy with Maravilla
on the back of his head, did you see him?”
“Yeah, gimme the strap
I’m gonna go pick it up.”
“I seen him, he’s with four other dudes.
Let’s light ’em all up.”
You know, that’s the day
you get caught slippin’.
But if you notice,
that guy never got out of his car though.
Again, at the same time you got people…
Like, we’re a trophy.
You take out a guy from Maravilla,
that’s major points for you.
Now we’re pulling up to a red light.
We don’t pull all the way up to the car.
You don’t pull all the way up to the car?
No, you leave at least
a car length between you.
So you can get away
in case anything, you know?
People trying to block you in.
Somebody just has to spot you
if you’re known out here or something.
“Oh, we just seen Marvelous.”
“Oh, get him.”
Back in the days that was a rule
you never disrespect somebody
with their kids or their lady
or just with their family in general,
you know?
We used to have meetings back in the days
where a person over 45
would be considered a veterano.
You don’t mess with older men
or something, you know?
That doesn’t stand these days?
That doesn’t stand.
It’s like anything goes these days.
You know, those people,
we call it clase or class
or you know, we used to have
meetings where we got sat down…
They sat us down, us younger homeboys
and had the veteranos come in and…
Not come in like that
but you get any older homeboy
if he wants to take the time to
put you up on game or some wisdom
on how to conduct yourself
then you better take that as…
You know, embrace that.
You know, that he’s actually
taking the time to school you
and that’s where you start
to develop your character
and how you are,
the type of person you are, bro.
That goes with you a long way, you know?
It’s a part of survival too because
you could get busted in the jail system
and if you don’t know
how to conduct yourself or act
you’re gonna get stabbed.
You know, you better know
how to address people.
Like I said, the first thing,
you shake their hand
you look them in their eyes.
You identify yourself.
Again, I’m not a gang member,
I never joined a gang
but I was around it.
Everybody else was doing it
around where I grew up
but like I said,
knowing people
I saw more structure back then
It was more structured.
There was more rules.
Which I don’t see that amongst the kids.
I don’t see that anymore
I don’t know if it’s the music,
I really don’t know what it is
but it just… It’s a little different.
It’s almost like there’s no rules,
you can do whatever you want.
The social media
has really messed up our people.
Where you got all these women
You can make a right right here, bro.
My bad.
You got all these women
showing their body’s, man.
That body,
that’s supposed to be for your man.
Somebody that you love, you know?
Someday your gonna have kids
and someday you’re gonna be in love
and you’re gonna wish
you never put out a picture like that.
You’re gonna wish
you never gave it up to that dude
and the same thing for guys as well.
You know, why would you want to live…
Make a left right here.
Why would you want to live your life
of regret of who you had a kid with
or who you slept with.
You know, so try to make
every decision that you make
is something that your
gonna take with you.
You know, a form of
you could say wisdom or anything
that you’re gonna
take with you in your lifetime
and then… Go straight.
And then you’re gonna
pass it on to your kids.
Say, “Mi ho, or son, don’t do this,
or I was in that situation one time.”
or “Don’t talk to your girl like that.”
or “Make sure you walk your girl
on the inside of the street
because if you walk here on the out…”
Go straight.
“You walk her on the outside of the street
that means you’re selling her.
You’re giving her away.”
-There’s different little things that…
-Oh, this one you mean?
Different little things
that people gotta know.
[muffled] One day I was
chilling outside with my cousin
and he just comes up to us and goes,
“What are you guys doing?”
Like, “Nothing, just hanging out,
what are you doing man?
Shouldn’t be talking to strangers.”
And he goes,
“Yeah, I see you riding your bike.
Be careful out here.”
He goes, “Yeah,
my mom doesn’t pay attention to me.
She’s just on the phone all day.”
-Like, damn.
-That sucks, man.
Yeah, it’s messed up.
So this is your place?
Yeah, it’s my little sanctuary.
My house, me and my son.
You got your key, dad?
I left mine.
Half court, oh yeah.
You’re a basketball player?
You know judo though,
that’s a good skill.
-So the big-screen.
What’s going on?
Cameras on the property
Yeah, gotta have a camera system set up.
I get strangers that come in.
It’s like a…
You know, this is my home.
It’s also a place
where I do my business so…
Who’s this sketchy character?
-Stop him, close the door.
-We’re gonna have to hit him up.
All right, guys.
We’re going in.
Kitchen to the left.
And then Marvelous…
This is my little tattoo studio right here.
Tattoo studio…
This is where it all goes down.
How did you learn to do this?
So back in the days my uncle
was a well-known artist.
They used to call him parajo,
it means bird in Spanish.
And he used to tattoo a lot of homeboys.
He taught me a lot about cultura
which is culture in Spanish
About our heritage and stuff like that.
That’s what I first used to tattoo only.
I never did no other work and stuff.
A lot of my stuff was done
with a homemade machine
and I learned how to tattoo
in dots actually first.
Dots are like…
I deal with marker
but today you can use paper.
Tracing paper, and this will
actually put the pattern on for you.
Let’s say somebody wanted
this flower on them.
So you would get the flower
and you would put it on the tracing paper
and you would trace out
your outline of the flower
that whoever wanted this.
The back of the paper
-it’s right there.
So back in the days
we used to use deodorant
now we have stencil stuff.
You just rub this on the client
and then you put this on the person.
It sticks just like…
Yeah, just like the drawing
and then you just start your work.
So Chicano tattoos are always
just black and white, correct?
Not necessarily but originally yeah.
We like black and white,
more traditional.
Some people want color,
I mean if you’re gonna get lips.
Like a lot of homeboys get lips on them.
Their girlfriend’s lips, their wife’s
and you go red or some people want
Dodgers tattoos being from Los Angeles.
That’s what our favorite team is
and you’ll get a Dodger blue ink.
So this is an important part
of Chicano culture or?
What would you say?
Really, tattooing is a right of passage.
Like any tribe,
when you get into our culture and stuff
you know, you go into…
You see tribes with different ink
on their faces
and all those tattoos mean something
and it’s the same thing today, you know?
But the names have just changed
from being a tribe
now we’re called gangs.
But essentially we’re tribes, bro.
Protecting our land or whatever…
We’ve been raised
to believe our belief system.
That’s what we are
but they still have meaning
and we have to hold those tattoos
at a high standard, bro.
How important is the tribe to you?
It’s my everything.
It’s my family, bro.
It’s everything, you know?
It’s your culture.
You gotta keep these traditions alive.
You can’t let the system raise your kid.
If you wanna instill…
It’s like a king or a queen
and they’re passing down
the kingdom to their kid.
You wanna make sure
your kid is gonna keep your traditions
your laws, your standards, your morals
how you conduct yourself
’cause that’s gonna be the future
of your bloodline.
Generations before you
-kept you in [clears throat] right?
And your son
you’ve decided
you’ve stopped that chain, let’s say.
-I’ve stopped…
-You said times changed, that’s why.
So I’ve stopped the whole ideology of
what would be called the bad stuff
on killing off our people.
Like going at it with other gangs,
you know?
‘Cause now you’re fighting a war with…
You don’t know
this battle that you’re fighting.
A lot of these fights
that we’re fighting over people…
Might have been over a girl.
A gang member or a homeboy
from another neighborhood
being with a girl that you liked
or something like that
or riding in your neighborhood and…
You know, that would be a pretty
ignorant thing to kill somebody over
You could ask
most of these gang member today,
“How did this beef start
with this neighborhood?”
They don’t know.
They’re just gonna say,
“Oh, F that neighborhood.”
and “I don’t care.”
and “It’s all about my neighborhood.”
but just think about the ignorance of that.
Have you been to prison?
I’ve been to jail.
Jail, did you sense that?
People regretting doing a stupid deed?
Oh, definitely.
I got homeboys that…
I got a homeboy,
I’ll give you an example.
Somebody did something in jail
and somebody got killed
and this youngster wanted to be
so down for the neighborhood
that he said,
“Oh, I’ll hide the shank for you.”
He got popped with it.
-Hide the what?
-He got caught with the shank
and now he’s doing life.
-What’s a shank?
-A prison knife.
Okay, okay.
So because he wanted to be down
and show the homeboys
that he’s not a rat or anything
and now this guy that had nothing
to do with this thing that took place
now he’s doing life.
He’s never gonna get out.
This is my grandfather right here
and then this is my dad.
That’s his prison ID actually.
My grandfather used to tell me,
“Mi ho, learn something from anybody
and everybody.”
Meaning that if you see
a poor guy out there
or a person addicted to drugs
take something
and learn something from that
on how not to be addicted to drugs
or how not to become poor
or how to do better.
Or a rich man,
you can learn something from them
but take something from anybody
and anybody
get this bag that you have of life…
Of life’s trials and tribulations
and take that with you
because you might
need something out of that bag.
The same instance, my grandpa
used to have a big old can
of nails and miscellaneous stuff.
he used to have buttons in there and
old coins and stuff life that.
There was something in there
that he could use.
Whether it was a screw
that fit into a door or something…
There was something that he used.
Great metaphor.
To go through life,
it’s better to have a bag full
of those lessons that
come from all different walks of life
then just your walk of life.
Then just your walk of life.
I agree,
that’s why I do this videos to be honest.
I learn everything,
every video I learn something.
Today I’m learning.
Music, right?
Like you were talking to Andy
about what you guys were into for music.
Yeah, what I was talking about
was the oldies.
So a lot of the oldies
like Al Green, Temptations
There’s kids now days in their 20s
and they’re bringing back oldies.
-Oh really?
They’re bringing back oldies.
Look at his shoes,
the way he’s wearing his shoes
they’re always clean.
Oh yeah, wow.
-You gotta make sure.
Do you remember I told you
you always gotta keep your shoes clean?
-So he comes from that.
What happens if someone dirties your shoes?
-Oh man, that’s like…
-That’s a crime, huh?
-Yeah, you don’t do that.
-You wanna blast me with what?
Ink, get a tattoo.
Getting blasted, you’re getting tattooed.
All right, guys,
they’re trying to get me to get a tat.
What do you think?
Should I get a tat? Where?
Where should I get my tat?
Something small.
Start off with something small.
-Baby steps?
-On my toes?
-No, don’t do that.
Make sure your shoes are clean.
-Look at how clean they are.
The laces, you work on those laces
don’t you? They’re Perfect.
You always want to match too, so…
If you’re gonna wear brown for the day
or whatever you get your khakis out.
Okay, so you go
to dry cleaning for this, huh?
Yeah, so you make sure…
You can wear a pair of black Levis
it’s gonna make your shoes pop.
With this Pendleton.
Pendleton’s are what you want to get.
-Really made good.
-It’s wool.
Or if you’re gonna wear blue…
Not everyone’s hanging onto this.
Not a lot of people, the youngsters
are bringing it back, you know?
Which is pretty cool to see.
Oh, that’s nice.
-With some hard Levis.
The game is over, killing it.
God, I need some fashion tips,
look at this.
What would you do?
I need some shoes that pop.
Well yeah, ’cause you’re wearing dark.
Yeah, my wife…
You’re right.
She doesn’t want to see
this jacket late night.
This is probably the Charlie Browns, right?
No, these jackets right here.
Oh, those are…
Every gangster
wanted to have these right here.
[bag opening]
-The Dickies?
-Yeah, they look like they’re state issued
jacket when you hit the yard in prison.
Why would you want to remember that?
I mean, it’s just the way we dressed.
It looks dope.
-It looks nice.
-That is nice.
With some dark shades on.
Some hard Levis.
You got every color to match whatever.
-So fashion is a big thing for you guys?
-Oh, heck yeah.
-Big thing.
Some old shoes we used to wear,
our Stacy Adams.
Make sure those are shined up nice.
Yeah, what size do you wear, bro?
Large usually.
Oh no, wait.
What color pants are you wearing?
Burgundy, that is dope though.
I like that.
Let’s just try that on
and see how it looks, bro.
-Oh yeah.
-That’s perfect.
Girls see you with that…
Ooh it’s over.
Oh yeah, so if I walk these streets
like this it’s…
It just turn it off right now.
Oh, it’s fine.
Press the back of the screen.
It’s just the auto…
It saves batteries
but it’s still rolling.
-As long as that red light is blinking.
-Got it.
Okay, so here we go.
-This one’s fresh.
-Yeah, brand new.
You look clean.
You fit right in actually.
Look at that.
Your pants are a little bit tight but…
Work with it, bro.
You know what I mean.
[all laughing]
Little too hipster tight or something?
That’s our reference is
kind of kicked up your a**.
That’s what we say, bro.
Yeah, I do gotta work on the pants.
-Yeah, but look at that.
-No, this is nice.
I like it.
-And this hat’s from Andy?
Andy’s awesome Instagram page.
This is his logo.
I Like it.
Now take off the hat.
Bald head, now you’re a gang member.
Now you look…
Draw a tear drop under your eye.
-There you go.
-Think I can do a tear drop up in here?
Yeah, but it looks dope, see?
Got you this dope style on.
-You’re tight with the pants.
-I am pretty tight, yeah.
-Only ’cause…
-You’re doing like…
Yeah, I’m going to work after this.
What do you think about Andy’s pants?
I’m going to work after.
-Not too tight?
-Regular Levis.
♪ old school R&B ♪
Where did you do that?
It was over here by Pino.
They showed you the pine, right?
The big tree?
He tried to come over here on some
politics sh*t.
This dude’s like 6’1″ too.
He could have said,
“Let’s get down.” or something but…
Wait, so you have your trash cans?
Oh, he’s coming in at you.
-And you just leveled him.
-Why? He knew you?
So this is what happens
when you try to get into Daniel’s home.
The big guy’s coming at him and…
People like to cover up their tattoos
but look it.
It’s crazy.
It takes off all your tattoos,
it’s called Luminous.
It’s a spray that just covers.
It’s pretty dope, huh?
Can’t see no tattoos on me.
-Sh*t works good, huh.
-You’re young looking, man.
Was the gate there?
Yeah, the gate was right there.
[muffled speech]
[camera shutter]
Little closer now.
All right, guys.
They’re gonna do a photo shoot for a bit.
The skies here in Southern California.
We’re in the middle of winter.
Even though this is
right in the middle of East LA
and there’s bars on some of the windows
I’m sure I’m a bit naive
but it feels quite tranquil and peaceful.
A lot of working-class people.
A lot of authentic people
raising their families.
Living in a part of the city that
I’d say most tourists never ever come to.
So I’m into poetry
and stuff like that, right?
I used to deal with music
and like to write songs
but I never produced anything
or anything like that.
So this was a song…
I mean this was a poem I did
when I was addicted myself.
Addicted to what?
To pills starting off with Vicodin
and also Fentanyl, Oxycodone
which people think that they’re using Oxy
but they’re actually using Fentanyl
and they don’t have no idea.
So thank God I got over that
and I was able to beat that battle
and a lot of it,
it’s a psychological battle but
a lot of people, you know,
you might have a family member
that you don’t know is addicted
or somebody that you care about
and they know how
to disguise it real well, you know?
So this one is called Nobody Knows.
It says,
“Nobody knows what I do.
Sometimes I feel
that they haven’t the slightest clue.
See, I wake up each day
with one constant thought on my mind
of when the last time it was
that I got high.
People talk to me
and sometimes I even answer them back
It’s crazy have these pills have me
as if I was on crack.
I don’t even look like I do drugs
I shower every day
and make sure that I look nice
but if anyone knew the amount of pills
that I taken the last week
it would look just like a bag of rice.
I’m sitting here and I’m writing this story
and I have no idea why.
Looking at all these words
I’m even starting to make myself cry.
You see, I could sit here
and blame everything on my mom and dad
how they were addicted themselves
and in and out of prison
but truth be told
I had my grandpa in my life
and most things he tried to teach me
I wouldn’t even listen.
You see, drugs used to be fun for me
and used to make me feel great
but now the the only feeling
that these pills bring me
is pure hate.
Hate for the person that I’ve become
and hate for the people that I’ve lost
but I’m still willing to get high
at any cost.
I can’t even tell you
how much money I spent on these things
or things that I’ve sold to get my pills
but I can tell you that I’ve been able
to remain a functioning addict
because of my tattoo skills.
I don’t say this
to brag about anything or boast.
I say this because there might be
someone out there that you know
that might be living the same way
and addiction is something
that’s affecting most of the population
at the end of the day.
Most people addicted,
honestly want to give up
and quit and give it all up
but it’s harder than it seems
when the closest people to you
can doubt you and be so mean.
It just pushes you to get high again
and not care anymore.
So we just shut down,
get high again and shut the door
I don’t know who’s reading this
or if anyone out there
would even care
[clears throat]
I guess what I’m trying to ask for
or say in these few words
is maybe just a little prayer.
You see, I’ve always been a man of faith
and believed in prayer and goals
So please pray for someone addicted.
‘Cause nobody really knows.
That’s amazing, man.
-You’re an amazing writer.
-Thank you, bro.
Yeah, so that’s just a little… You know?
Yeah, I hope that, you know,
it could affect some people with…
talking about that.
How long have you been clean?
Some years now, bro.
For like about eight years, nine years.
But it’s a struggle, you know?
It’s a struggle in your mind when there’s
people that you know that sell drugs
or there’s people that you know
that are addicted themselves and stuff
and it becomes a battle.
Anybody can tell you,
“Hey, stop doing that.” or whatever.
But it’s really gonna take the willpower
and the strength
and the love of others
to be in your life
that you’re gonna say,
“You know what?
I care about being here more.”
There’s a better purpose for me
than to just wake up
and get high every day, you know?
All right, guys, end of the road.
-Thank you, Daniel.
-Thank you.
Thanks, Andy.
Without Andy reaching out on Instagram
there’s no way
I would ever get into these communities.
Daniel, thank you
for bringing us into your life.
Little peak at your world.
You know, for those of us
that have never really been in it
it’s very fascinating.
So thanks for opening up.
Not everyone can do that.
I wanna drop Daniel’s
Instagram link below.
Also, the link to his tattoo shop.
He does beautiful tattoos.
It’s one of those,
I’m not gonna call Mom and Pop
’cause it was just you back there.
But one of those style
of businesses where it’s very authentic
and you get a real experience
and Andy
gave me this hat
and there are very few hats I like to wear
this one not only fits well
but it’s his logo.
Check out his Instagram page.
He does photography all over
the streets of mostly East LA.
Mostly Chicano culture but all over LA.
better than most Instagram pages I’ve seen
and a million times better than mine.
So check out his link below
Follow him.
He has these pictures that make
you stop and think for a second.
Make you reflect.
They’re very powerful
and for me
I don’t want to
just skip through stuff these days.
I want to get something.
So that’s Andy’s page.
Thank you guys for coming along.
Appreciate the support and the interest.
Until the next one.
♪ hip hop ♪
♪ hip hop ♪

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