He led a band, also known as the Ghetto Brothers, which included his late brother Victor Melendez on bass. They released one album Ghetto Brothers - Power-Fuerza in 1971, which had only informal, local distribution. It has since been re-released on CD. Benjamin Melendez was best known for brokering the gang truce in the Bronx and Harlem (New York City) in 1971.
At that time, he was President of the Ghetto Brothers, a mainly ethnically Puerto Rican South Bronx gang, and lead vocalist of a musical group also known as the Ghetto Brothers. The Ghetto Brothers, especially in their early years, had a reputation as one of the more politically minded and less vengeful of New York-area gangs. After Cornell "Black Benjie" Benjamin was killed in 1971 trying to prevent a fight between two rival gangs, the Ghetto Brothers did not seek the expected revenge on those responsible for his death. Instead, under Melendez's leadership (and that of Carlos Antonio Suarez, also known as Carlos Melendez), they were instrumental in achieving a moderately successful truce among South Bronx and other New York-area gangs at the December 7, 1971, Hoe Avenue peace meeting. Under Melendez's leadership, the Ghetto Brothers represented one end of the spectrum in terms of how they treated the women involved with the gang. Referred to as the Ghetto Sisters—the respectful term contrasted sharply with the names used for the women attached to other New York gangs of the period—the women were generally viewed as organization members and as girlfriends, whereas many other gangs treated women almost entirely as sexual property. Former Hartford, Connecticut mayor Eddie Perez was a member of the Ghetto Brothers when young.
New York Daily News columnist Robert Dominguez was the leader of a Ghetto Brothers division in the Bronx when he was a teen. In the Connecticut prison system, during the 1990s, the Ghetto Brothers and the Savage Nomads joined together to form Los Solidos (the Solid Ones), which is now one of the most powerful Puerto Rican gangs in the state. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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