MONSTER is an autobiography that begins with the initiation of Kody Scott into an LA gang set. Roughly half the book deals with Scott’s life on the street and his never ending work to make the neighbourhood safe, mainly by shooting rival enemy gang members. The other half outlines his transformation into a black nationalist, Sanyika Shakur.
Early in the narrative Scott indicates that he has always been an intensely private individual. Despite the expressive nature of the autobiography itself, this privacy is no doubt found in the radically uncommunicative goals of gangsterism: the destruction of other human beings. Despite this aim, throughout much of the autobiography Scott is haunted by an inability to explain what is happening, and why. He enjoys the gang life but is also looking for something to explain it. At the best of times he openly questions the choices he and his friends have made. After meeting with Muhammad Abdullah while in prison he observes “The strongest New Afrikan men I had known up until that time were bangers. Verbalizing was not an issue. Shoot first and let the victims’ relatives ask questions later. Guns were our tools of communication… Words, I thought, could never take the place of guns to communicate like or dislike” (228). Scott begins reading Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver and the journey out of gangersterism begins. Although raised with the notion that work is for the weak, he argues that “in order to really feel that actual weight of the state I had to be a part of the working class” (368). Overall the reader will likely find the grueling yet emotionally understated violence of South Central less interesting than the gradual unfolding of Scott’s determination to confront the difficulties of collective organization and understand the exact nature of “American” oppression.
25 November 2007 is the release date for Can’t Stop Won’t Stop staring Kody Scott, directed by Billy Wright (Black News Pictures).
“Your generation has totally turned inward and is now self-destructive. You are less of a threat when you fight one another.” – Muhammad Abdullah (quoted in Scott, 219)