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'Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy' exposes the truth about the war on drugs

Director Stanley Nelson: ‘In the beginning of the film we have a cop on the beat, swinging a nice stick in a blue uniform, and by the end we have cops with body armor and carrying assault rifles, looking like something out of Star Wars.’

On this edition of Your Call, we rebroadcast our conversation with award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson about his new Netflix documentary, Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy.

Nelson looks back on how the crack epidemic of the early 1980s decimated Black and Brown communities.

The epidemic fueled racial and economic inequality, hyper-aggressive policing, mass incarceration, and government corruption at the highest levels. Nelson says we need to expose the truth about the past in order to change policies.


Stanley Nelson, Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of Firelight Media. Stanley is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and recipient of the National Medal in the Humanities. Some of his films include Freedom Riders, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and The Murder of Emmett Till

Web Resources:

Netflix: Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy

The Guardian, Beatrice Loayza: 'The war on drugs funded policing': behind a Netflix documentary about crack

Bloom&Oil, Zack Ruskin: Netflix’s “Crack” Reveals America’s War on Drugs Was Really a War on People

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.
Lea is a producer for Your Call on KALW Local Public Radio. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in 2018.