It’s a good thing members of the Bloods and Crips gangs saw Redemption: The Stanley “Tookie” Williams Story on FX in back April.
The film stars Jamie Foxx as Williams, a Crips co-founder who underwent a dramatic transformation while on San Quentin prison’s death row. The gangster-turned-activist has written nine children’s books, earning two Nobel Prize nominations.
“They were definitely inspired by it,” says David Muhammad, a Newark, N.J., official. The gang members found The Tookie Protocol for Peace, a procedure for ending gang violence, on Williams’s Web site. It served as a blueprint for a recent truce.
Some critics were skeptical of Redemption, saying it glossed over Williams’s conviction for the murder of four people. “If we don’t feel the brutality of Williams’s crimes, then we don’t feel the full power of his moral conversion,” wrote The Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert.
Redemption doesn’t back away from Williams’s complexities, counters Peter Liguori, FX’s president and CEO. “We don’t feed our audience the answer,” he says. Since the peace accord, FX is setting up screenings in at-risk areas and sending the movie to churches and outreach groups.