Monday, February 24, 2014

The Film 'Scarface' Shows What The Drug Trade Is All About


I saw the 1983 film "Scarface" again on AMC last week (the edited, clean version). The movie, filmed in Miami, Florida and Santa Barbara, California, chronicled what was transpiring in Miami at the time during the violent drug trade. The lead character in the film "Tony Montana" was an immigrant to Miami, who wanted to become rich very fast and saw selling cocaine as the answer to his poverty problems.

"Scarface" is often glorified by rappers, who completely miss the message of the film, which is to avoid the drug trade. Director Brian DePalma and writer/director Oliver Stone showed the dangerous, depraved, paranoid and unhappy life that goes with being a drug dealer. However, rappers quote sayings from the film putting a positive spin on what is a very negative and harmful lifestyle.

Only actress Lindsay Lohan snorts more cocaine than Scarface

Rappers promote the drug trade via music, rapping positively about what is destructive behavior. This negatively influences impressionable audiences, who quickly want the homes, cars, jewelry, clothes and women, then get into the drug trade trying to live like rappers (many of whom are just pretending for the cameras, living on credit and rented luxury items). 

The terrible consequences of drug dealing is far more real than what rappers are showing you. Miami had quite a few Tony Montanas running around in the 190s, who wreaked havoc on the city. They bought up luxury homes, cars, jewelry and designer clothes. Some drug dealers were buying several homes and businesses in cash to launder the money. Their was so much money laundering going on in Miami from the drug trade the federal government had to make new rules for how much money one can deposit without it being flagged and sent to the government for inspection ($5,000). If you buy a house or car cash, the sale is sent to the government for inspection to verify it did not come from the drug trade or any other illegal sources. 

While the drug trade did not personally touch my life, I know someone who was profoundly affected by it. When I moved to Miami in the 1980s as a kid, the drug trade was in full swing. I didn't fully understand it, as I was a child, I just knew it was something negative from what I was told and watched on the news with my mom. 

At the time my mom's friend's daughter was dating a man a few had assumed to be a drug dealer shifting cocaine. He bought a house, a Porsche and BMW. He wore a massive gold rope chain and designer clothes. A young man with no job in possession of said assets and no explanation as to how he acquired them, will draw attention. He got my mom's friend's daughter pregnant. They were both in their early twenties and living in luxury from the drug trade. However, she and her mom were told his money came from his dad's business. It wasn't until the police arrested him and all the material possessions were taken away that it came home to everyone he was a cocaine dealer. He was sentenced to many years in prison and missed his daughter growing up. 

As the saying goes, drug dealers end up dead or in jail, if they refuse to leave the drug trade. Some were caught early by police as small time hustlers and gave up on the trade, not realizing it saved their lives and futures. Some leave the trade when something terribly violent happens. I saw an interview with a former drug dealer, who stated the very expensive watch he was wearing, saved his life. A rival drug dealer opened fire on his vehicle, but the bullet hit the watch, damaging his hand that was covering his chest, but did not go through to his heart. He gave his life to God after that and became a pastor.

A few years of living in luxury is not worth one's life or a long stretch in jail. Leave the drug trade alone. If you're not in it, don't get in it. If you're in it, get out now. Turn your life around and do something honest with it.