He Plays A Cholo On Screen, But His Real Life In More Insane Than Any Script. Now He’s Telling His Own Story In Spoken Word

Who am I? That kid that came from the streets

Striving to be something, anything because no one really believed in me. 

“You could be whatever you want to be,” that’s what I heard them say. 

This former gangster, Richard Cabral, is doing it.

Credit: Summit Entertainment / Jason Merrit via Getty Images

As you can imagine, going from the life-threatening streets of L.A. to walking red carpets in Hollywood was anything but easy.

Credit: @richardcabralofficial / Instagram

To put things into perspective, here’s a glimpse of Richard’s life by the numbers:

1970s – his family started their involvement in gangs.

13 – He officially joined a gang.

14 – He’s arrested.

15 – He started dealing crystal meth and became addicted to crack.

20 – He shot a man.

35 – The number of years he faced in prison.

27 – Months served after a deal plea.

2009 – After working with Homeboy Industries, he landed his first speaking role in 2009 on “Southland.”

2010 – He appeared in the Bruno Mars video for “Grenade.”

2015 – He was nominated for an Emmy for his role on “American Crime.”

Emmy nominations are cool and all, but for this reformed cholo, “it’s about telling stories that could heal.”

Credit: @richardcabralofficial / Instagram

And that’s exactly what he’s doing because as he says, he’s the only one who can tell his story.

Richard teamed up with the award-winning director and dramaturg Robert Egan to produce “Fighting Shadows,” Richard’s account of his life in spoken word.

Behind the scenes of #fightingshadowstheplay #homeboystory starting April 15!

A video posted by Fighting Shadows (@homeboystory) on

Credit: @homeboystory / Instagram

You know, it’s like rap you can understand.

His brutal and truthful storytelling of his life takes you from his early years in gangs and prison to the new world of art and love he discovered. Here’s a sneak peek:

Credit: Lineage Entertainment Group / Vimeo 

Be inspired. Here’s where you can check out Richard’s powerful performance in “Fight Shadows.”

Credit: @richardcabralofficial / Instagram

READ: This Ex-Gang Member Used To Run The Streets Of L.A., Now He’s An Emmy-Nominated Actor

Tag a friend and click share to spread the word of Richard’s story.

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A 22-Year-Old Woman Was Arrested For Sexual Relationship With 15-Year-Old And Forcing Him To Sell Drugs

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A 22-Year-Old Woman Was Arrested For Sexual Relationship With 15-Year-Old And Forcing Him To Sell Drugs

Twenty-two-year-old Irabelis Carrazana was arrested in Miami for having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy. The woman is also being accused of encouraging the boy to partake in the gangster lifestyle she was involved with. This included selling drugs and other gang activity. Stories like these highlight the dangers of young, impressionable kids who meet the wrong adults willing to corrupt them before they fully realize their own potential and dreams. Carrazana more than introduced the child to the gangster lifestyle, there are messages proving that she pressured and forced him to sell drugs for the gang she was a member of.

This week, 22-year-old Irabelis Carrazana was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old.

Credit: @KonnieMoments1 / Twitter

The crime went down in Miami. While it’s not clear how Carrazana met the teenage boy, officials say that she was involved with him for more than a year. This wasn’t just a sexual relationship. It was a lot more perverse and appalling than that. Miami-Dade police say that Carrazana was using the 15-year-old for numerous lewd acts other criminal actions. 

The woman not only used the boy for sex, but she forced him to commit crimes, including selling drugs and had him involved with gang activity.

Credit: @ScallywagNYC / Twitter

According to officials, she used the teen to be her errand boy, so if anyone got caught basically, he would be the one that was committing the crimes. However, Carrazana wasn’t very smart about hiding her crimes. She put it all out in the open. 

Police found text messages in which she directed the teenage boy to pick the drug and sell them. He would then give the money to Carrazana.  Officials also found numerous videos on Carrazana’s phone that show the two engaging in sexual acts. The teen admitted to having sex with Carrazana since he was 14. 

The only reason these two ended their relationship was after the teen boy said he didn’t want to sell drugs for her anymore.

Credit: @annaHEYCELEB / Twitter

Police say that Carrazana got mad at the boy for not delivering money from a drug deal. That is when he told her he wanted out. It’s pretty remarkable that the boy wasn’t killed because, according to the cops, he was at his house when someone drove by and began firing. 

CBS News reports that Carrazana was charged with “possession of a sexual performance by a child, child neglect charges and contributing to a delinquency of a child.”

The poor kid was like an Uber driver for this woman and also her sex slave. It’s all very disgusting. Carrazana’s arraignment is scheduled for next month, and it’s also unclear if she is remorseful for her actions. 

Carrazana is the latest woman this year to be caught this year having a sexual relationship with an underage boy.

Credit: @1800VICTIMS / Twitter

According to the Center For Disease Control, a 2011 report showed that both men and women were forced to have sexual relationships. The Independent reports, “Similarly, the 2010 survey showed comparable results estimating that nearly 4.5 million men in the US had, at some stage in their lives, been forced to penetrate another person – and that in 79.2 percent of cases, the perpetrator forcing the sexual act was a woman.”

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports that they estimate that women are the abusers in about 14 percent of cases reported among boys and 6 percent of cases reported among girls. 

It’s also extremely difficult for boys to speak out if they’re being abused whether their assailant is a man or a woman. If the predator is a woman who is forcing a man to have sex with them, they rarely disclose it because of the shame surrounding the politics of sex. 

A study titled “Male Rape: The Silent Victim and the Gender of the Listener” Dr. Patrizia Riccardi notes, “A common theme emerging in treating male rape victims is a lost sense of manliness. Male victims voice their concern in reconciling their masculine identity with their experience of being raped. One patient reported that he never disclosed it to his wife of 30 years; the sense of stigma from the rape was felt as huge and devastating.”

READ: The Salvadoran Rape Victim Who Was Sentenced To 20 Years For Delivering a Stillborn Child Is Up Against A New Trial

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


From Gang Member To Emmy-Nominated Winner: Here Is The Inspiring 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.


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