Monster Kody: A Contradiction

October 28th, 2008


This season’s second show deals with one of the most feared, and revered, LA gang bangers of all time, Sanyika Shakur, aka Monster Kody. He’s a convicted murderer and noted children’s author, a contradiction that goes to the heart of the man and the story we’ve told. P. Frank Williams, a former LA Times reporter and Source magazine contributor, produced the episode and, crucially, gained the trust of Monster and his family.

“After finding Monster’s relatives and connecting with his set, the 8-Trey Gangsters, I was able to speak with Monster on the phone from jail,” P. Frank recalls.

“He was funny, down to earth and very optimistic. This was a radically different person from the cunning and vicious killer that most people imagined him to be. He connected me with his homies and was very helpful. My biggest goal in producing this piece was to show how Monster’s family situation (abuse and violence at home, lack of a father) affected his mentality and behavior.”

Now that the episode is about to air, P. Franks feels, “an amazing sense of accomplishment about the piece but, unfortunately, a huge sense of despair. Because even as he spoke to youths about avoiding the streets and made a huge transformation from gangster to Black freedom fighter, Monster remains in jail and couldn’t avoid drugs and the lure of kicking it with his gang and staying involved in street life. I remain hopeful that one day soon he will get out and fly right. Only time will tell.”

P. Frank Williams’ next piece for “American Gangster” is on Tupac Shakur’s revolutionary stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, which airs in a few weeks.


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