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Society has labelled babies born between 1961 and 1982 Generation X. But in 1968, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, which was one of the most dope-infested areas of the world, they donned another moniker.
Right across the bridge from Harlem, in the glory days of notorious drug kingpins such as Nicky Barns and Frank Lucas, children born in this section were known as Generation Next, because no one looked at those babies and asked: “Who’s going to be a doctor? Lawyer? Politician? Businessman? Real estate tycoon?” Instead they wondered:
Which of these babies is the next dope fiend? The next dope dealer? The next one to go to prison? The next unwed teenaged mother?
The odds of one of these children, a Gen Next, surviving their circumstances undamaged were on par with the journey of sperm to egg: three hundred million are in the race, but only one makes it to the target.
Ghetto Bastard is a story of survival. Malik was born into these circumstances–with no father to teach him how to be a man, and to a mother who didn’t want him. Malik must navigate his way to adulthood with only the streets as his guide–through the seventies heroin infestation, the eighties crack rage, and the nineties Clinton mass incarceration era, and AIDS epidemic.
Once he becomes a man, his vision broadens, but will it be enough to abandon the very ghetto that created him?
Ghetto Bastard is the intimate journey of an innocent child in search of love and self-worth. He just wants what we all want. And Malik Russell wasn’t born with any ‘quit’, so he’s got that going for him, but neither was his opponent: the ghetto.