New Graphic Novel Details How the City Gangs' Treaty Formed Hip-Hop

Ghetto Brother is a new graphic novel from author Julian Voloj and illustrator Claudia Ahlering that highlights Benjy Melendez's improbable transformation from gang leader to peace broker to hip-hop pioneer.

An engrossing and counter view of one of the most dangerous elements of American urban history, this graphic novel tells the true story of Benjy Melendez, a Bronx legend, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, who founded, at the end of the 1960s, the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighborhood, wracked by drugs, poverty, and violence, he managed to extract an incredibly positive energy from this riot ridden era: his multiracial gang promoted peace rather than violence. After initiating a gang truce, the Ghetto Brothers held weekly concerts on the streets or in abandoned buildings, which fostered the emergence of hip-hop. Melendez also began to reclaim his Jewish roots after learning about his family's dramatic crypto-Jewish background.

Ghetto Brothers is available for purchase on Amazon.

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