From Gang Member To Emmy-Nominated Actor: Here Is The Incredible Life Story Of Richard Cabral

The entertainment industry is full of rags-to-riches stories, but also stories of survival and resilience. Richard Cabral is the protagonist of such a story. The protagonist of the Sons of Anarchy spin-off Mayans M.C, in which he represents Mexican-American biker culture, has risen from the ashes of a tough life like a phoenix and has become a symbol of Latino resilience.

Here are some facts about his greater than life story.

1. He is East Los Angeles born and bred. REPRESENT.

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Cabral was born on August 28, 1984, in the iconic Los Angeles neighborhood, which has retained its unique personality and rejected the waves of gentrification. Cabral grew up in a difficult environment, which made him tough as nails. He did not have his father around.

2. Being in gangs was sort of a family tradition

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

He has confessed in interviews that he comes from a long lineage of pandilleros, and that his familia has been involved in illegal activities and gang warfare since the 1970s.

3. He was a gang member from a very early age

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Growing up around urban violence in and outside the household made him prone to be engaged in these activities himself, and he became a gang member from a very early age, which makes the fact that he has cleaned up his act even more commendable.

4. He was incarcerated as a child, just 13 years old

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Imagine going to jail as a child of just 13 years, barely a preteen. When most kids are involved in school gossip, Richard had to learn that only the fittest survive. He learned it the hard way, behind bars.


Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Cabral was a gang member in New Jersey and when he was apprehended and convicted as a child the crime was a really minor one: stealing a wallet. And to think that non-ethnic young offenders get off even in instances of sexual abuse or battery…

6. He soon became a drug addict… at 15

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

His drug of choice was crack cocaine, a highly addictive and super damaging narcotic that is basically the leftovers of processed coca.

7. He was released from prison at 15 but was incarcerated again…

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

This time around he spent a decade in prison. It is a pivotal moment in his life and it is truly hard to believe that he survived to tell the story and that he changed his life around and has built a career in front of the camera and behind the typewriter as an author.

8. When he was released he wanted to get his mierda together, and friends wanted to help…

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

That’s when he got in touch with Homeboy Industries, a Catholic youth program that tries to fight the gang problem with compassion instead of rejection. That’s where he found his true calling… acting to exorcize his demons. He also baked muffins as part of the program.

9. He tells it all in Fighting Shadows

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

This is a one-man-show in which he shares his improbable story… but wait, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

10. His rugged looks earned him his first TV gig in 2009…

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Cabral is magnetic on the screen and on the stage. He appeared in the TV show Southland and then in a video for super popular pinoy singer Bruno Mars, “Grenade”.

11. 2015 was his breakthrough year…

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Just a few years after being released from prison Cabral earned an Emmy nomination for his role in American Crime. It was hard to believe that this East Los boy who was destined to live a life of drugs and violence was now lit by the Hollywood spotlight.

12. As his acting paid off, his personal life also got better…

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Just look at this photo of Richard as a proud papa of four. He married Janiece Sarduy in 2014 and has formed a beautiful family. They are his rock, what keeps him out of trouble.

13. But to do so, he used lessons learned in prison. Lesson 1: belonging.

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Cabral has said that life in prison actually has him a sense of belonging. He is quoted as saying: “There was men that I could share stories with, I knew where I was going to get my next meal at, where I’d rest my head at.” Prison gave him a sense of routine, a sense of being part of something.

14. He was first typecast in Latino gangster roles.

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

But that was OK with him, as he has said about his role in CSI: Miami: “I played a Cuban gangster. And that was it. I was like, ‘Wow, I don’t have to clean toilets.’ I could actually dress up and get paid equivalent to that. So that was my introduction to the Hollywood industry.”

15. Acting is actually painful for him, especially when he takes on gang-related roles

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

American Crime led him to relive some very painful memories from his childhood and teenage years. It was cathartic: “I got this. No, man, it was a sacrifice and I really had to go to a deep, dark place. But I’m honored that I showed that other side.”

16. He believes one of the reasons young men join gangs is the lack of father figures

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

It is not an excuse, it is more of an explanation. Richard reckons that broken families leave kids without something to hold on to. He told Entertainment Weekly: “In this society, you have to belong to something I feel, and all we have in the neighborhood is a gang. My father figures were all gang members.”

17. His experiences feed into his roles

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

The character of Coco in Mayans M.C. is certainly informed by these informal families of crime that young men join. Mayans M.C. is all about belonging, sacrificing the one for the many.

18. He has written it all in a book: Vida. 

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

It is not a straight narrative or a detailed factual account of his life in prison or in the streets. Richard uses poetry to reveal his truth. The words are powerful, angry and compassionate at once.

19. Even after a rough life, he believes that people are good by nature

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

Discussing his role of “El Coco”, he told Collider: “A bad person or a gangster wasn’t always like that. There was a time when they were an innocent child. We were all innocent children. So, that’s how I go into everything, no matter who it is. If you read it, it might be the worst person, but I know that the worst person, at one time in their life, was an innocent person”.

20. He knows rejection, of course

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

In his show Fighting Shadows he recalls: “After prison, I was hitting up everywhere from McDonalds and Wal-Mart to temp agencies, but I still couldn’t get anything because I had a [criminal] record and look the way I do”. He is the embodiment of what prejudice can do to the thousands of inmates that are released into society without knowing how to fit in, and without given the opportunity to do so.

21. He is not really in love with Hollywood

Credit: Instagram. @RichardCabralOfficial

He told Fox News: “I’m blessed to do what I love but the Hollywood thing isn’t…. For me, it’s not that I can recite lines or put on a one-man show. It’s about healing. I’m just going to keep sharing a message of hope and love”. Well, we hope that in our out of the industry Richard can keep spreading his message of redemption.

Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Took Home Two Awards At The 2019 Golden Globes


Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ Took Home Two Awards At The 2019 Golden Globes

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Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” is now on Netflix and movie critics and fans cannot get enough of the director’s newest cinematic feat. The film was shown in select theaters around the world and has been receiving resounding praise. It is being predicted that this film will single-handedly dominate the awards show season and it is clear to see why.

“Roma” took home two Golden Globes last night, including for Best Foreign Film.

The film tells the story of Cleo, a maid working for a middle-class family in Mexico City. The black-and-white Spanish-language movie with English subtitles is a pure masterpiece. Not just because it was directed by Cuarón, who’s previous films includes “Gravity,” “Children of Men,” and “Y Tu Mamá También,” but because of how it tells such an intimate story.

“Roma” is more poignant because of the central character, an indigenous woman, who struggles like most of us to make money, but more importantly is also with trying to find who she is outside of caring for this family.

The role of Cleo is largely based on Cuarón’s own maid who practically raised him.

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

Cuarón told Variety about his reasoning for wanting to make this film and make Cleo the main character.

“I think I wanted to understand, to put the pieces together,” he said. But also added that he realizes there’s a complex dynamic of a brown woman taking care of a white Mexican family. He wanted to capture that nuance behind an almost childlike lens, which is why he shot this movie in black and white digital.

“It was probably my own guilt about social dynamics, class dynamics, racial dynamics,” he told Variety. “I was a white, middle-class, Mexican kid living in this bubble. I didn’t have an awareness. I [had] what your parents tell you — that you have to be nice to people who are less privileged than you and all of that — but you’re in your childhood universe.”

The film first premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion Award.

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This award is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival, so right off the bat, it came out swinging.

Since its premiere, “Roma” has already won a slew of awards.

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Here’s just some…

New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film

BIFA Award for Best Foreign Independent Film

New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director

New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer

L.A. Film Critics Association Awards: ‘Roma’ Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography

Also, Best Film in the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Chicago Film Critics Association and at the Philadelphia Film Critics Awards.

All roads clearly lead to the Oscars, right?

CREDIT: Instagram/@romacuaron

According to the award prediction site Gold Derby, “Roma,” as of now, is not predicted to win Best Picture. Right now it looks as if “A Star Is Born” will win Best Picture, but “Roma” is right behind it.

READ: A Border Vigilante Hunts Down Immigrants in the Intense Trailer for ‘Desierto’

Have you seen “Roma”? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting in the section below!

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