Written by Guy Bellefonte
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image for Nearly 30 Years Later, Man Describes How Hall & Oates Got Him Off The Streets From Gang Member to Hall & Oates Superfan

The year was 1981. It was a hot summer and I was deeply involved with a gang called the Disciples. A typical Wednesday involved being high on crack and toting a machine gun. I led my crew in a constant struggle to defend our street corner from rival gangs. Yeah, I was dealing drugs and jacking up suckas if they looked at me the wrong way. I was ruthless and did what I had to do to protect my crew in our urban jungle.

We wuz chillin one July afternoon on the corner. We had just shot up a rival gang's house the night before and we all knew retaliation was on the way, but we were ready. I had my look outs on the avenue keeping an eye on what was ahead of me. Lil Jimmy was in charge of dealin drugs and playin the role of dj for our crew. That day a cassette tape fell apart in our boom box and we had to listen to the radio. I was nervous like never before and just pacing back and forth in the streets, waiting for the Latin Kings to make their move. Then all of a sudden I hear this song.

I stopped immediately and my jaw just about dropped. I was like, you hold up, hold up-everybody shut up, I gotta hear this song. It was Hall and Oates song, You Make My Dreams Come True.

It was like nuthin we had ever heard before. I said yo Jimmy! Crank that up! My crew didn't know how to react but they took my lead. I started tapping my foot, snapping my fingers and before long, me and the whole crew were dancing in a big circle like a bunch of school girls.

I'll never forget those lyrics, "What I want you got, and it might be hard to handle, but like the flame that burns the candle, the candle feeds the flame." It was like they were talking directly to me.

So the Latin Kings roll up and they are upset about us shooting up there house last night. They didn't expect us to be prancing around to Hall and Oates and that definitely took them by surprise. The leader jumps out and starts yelling at me, but I didn't care, I was too involved in the music. Next thing I know, he and his crew join us and now the two rival gangs are dancing together and solving our differences with dance off competitions to Hall and Oates latest record. It was an unconventional method for street gangs, but it worked! It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever been apart of and that includes the births of all 7 of my children.

As for the Latin Kings, we agreed to stop shooting at one another and start going to Hall and Oates concerts as one big supportive group. From that day I put down my drugs, guns and bandana and picked up their latest record. That was the best decision of my life.


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