Did rival gang members really tie their bandannas together in solidarity like in Straight Outta Compton?

By | November 24, 2016

Last year, I was watching Straight Outta Compton and during the movie, there’s a scene that depicts the LA riots. In that scene, a Blood and a Crip tie their respective bandannas together as a show of solidarity against the police. I was pretty dismissive when I first saw that scene. It felt like heavy-handed emotional manipulation. Surely, there was no scene like this in real life.

While I couldn’t find any pictorial evidence of a scene like what’s depicted in the movie, apparently, this scene represents what is known as the Watts Truce of 1992. In 1992, after 20 years of gang warfare, rival gangs in Watts formed a peace agreement as a response to the constant bloodshed. (In its Wikipedia article, they characterize the peace process as being similar to the Israeli and Egypt peace agreement but I couldn’t find any other sources to back that up.) Before this agreement, an individual could be shot for being outside of their home territory, gang member or not. After this agreement, gang members would check other gang members if they were allowing personal grudges to endanger the peace treaty. Eventually, other gangs in other LA cities followed suit and gang violence was reduced over the next ten years. 

To be clear though, unlike what the movie tries to depict, the truce took place just before the LA riots and were not caused by the conditions that created the LA riots like what is implied in the movie.

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