BBC Newsbeat: “I Was The Baddest Girl In Brixton” (Video)

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When Tracey Miller was 15, she was a leader of the Brixton gang, the Younger 28s.

She would sleep with a knife under her pillow and a gun by her bed. Now, 20 years on, she works with kids, trying to stop them falling into her former life.

She has also published her memoirs, called Sour.

The ex-gang girl says she can’t remember the number of people she has stabbed.

Newsbeat spent a day with Tracey, who says she was once one of the “baddest” girls in Brixton, to reflect on her former life.

Categories: UK News, Video

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25 replies »

  1. Good luck to her. This is interesting as I live on the other side of the road from this estate. BTW she looks very young for 36.

  2. What about her victims this girl was ruthless because she had the backing of the 28s who where a male gang. So when she was going after girls the men where going after them too.

  3. @janice I personally know of her and its worst than you could think. I personally wouldn’t want her mentoring my child but its good she has managed to turn her life around, just a shame good black role models dont get this publicity. I wont download her book because it will be a load of hype she cant tell too much or she will incriminate others.

  4. Yes it true! What about her victims? I dont have no sympathy or respect for her. How the heck did she become a mentor for young people knowing what she has done to others! Its distrubing that these bullies, drug dealers and gangsters become mentors and youth workers for young people with no experince (qulifications I.e sociololgy, child studies or psychology) in the role to take mentor youths apart from crime and violence. I guess they allow people with criminal backgrounds to work with children and young adults…..surely she must have had a crimal record if she was that bad.

  5. Judging others on their past is whats wrong with the society of the present. Fact is that she as an individual has reflected on what she has done in the past and has carried her past experiances in order to help others from making the same mistakes. Only she knows what she carries in her heart and thus must have regretted her actions enough for her to be doing what she is today. I credit her. Theres people out that need a mentor and support and who better to provide it then someone who has engaged in similar activities themselves. Atleast she aint on benefits scrounging. if this is her passion then let her be #justsaying

  6. Every1 deserves a second chance , when kids here Tracy talk from the heart they will engage as she has walked the walk. We can’t change the past but WE can change and it seems Tracy is on track., hope she continues to make good progress on her journey and helps steer/guide others from Simla situations. Bless

  7. First of all let me clear up a few facts. I was never the leader of the Younger 28’s. The journalist who done this piece knows that I never told him or insinuated that. Second… I know exactly how much people I have stabbed. I quoted too many is all I know and I went onto say that more than 1 is more than enough. Also, when I did roll with these guys they never attacked no girls. Neither did I! Girls never used to test my patience. Boys always did. I never needed these guys to back me cause I could take care of myself. These guys were focused on making money!!! @coco Where do you know me from? If you did know me you wouldn’t have posted that comment. Everyone knows I didn’t have arguments with girls so I can only assume you heard of my name when I was younger. People were fearful of me and thus didn’t really bother me so I didn’t actually need to do much. Regarding victims… Read the book. This book is about the journey I travelled on. Yes I was naughty but I’ve never killed anyone. @janice once you’ve had a read, post and let me know your thoughts. Do you know what annoys me the most? There’s people like me out there trying to make a difference whilst others turn a blind eye and only want to help and do something when the problem gets close to home. I personally don’t want to see anymore youngsters dying at the hands of other youngsters over nonsense. Let me ask you a question… What are you doing to help make a difference to society????

  8. I am going to get this book. If it reads like Dopefiend or Pimp or any type of gangsta bio it will hold my attention. It will interesting to see what obstacles she faced to change her life around. Was it purely her daughter or did her conscious kick in or did the hand of God reach down and touch her soul. Everybody deserves second chances…….

  9. I downloaded it as it seems an interesting read. @simone You shouldn’t just judge and pigeon-hole people based on what little you know of them. If you take the time to maybe find out about her, like read her book for example, you will find out how the heck she became a mentor. You said ” Its distrubing that these bullies, drug dealers and gangsters become mentors and youth workers for young people with no experince (qulifications I.e sociololgy, child studies or psychology) in the role to take mentor youths apart from crime and violence. I guess they allow people with criminal backgrounds to work with children and young adults…..surely she must have had a crimal record if she was that bad”( Your spelling is atrocious). There is a scene in Training Day where Denzel Washington say’s “To be a good narcotics cop, a narcotics cop must have a little narcotics in his system” (or blood). I believe that the best gang prevention mentors are those who have been gang members themselves, as they know what they are talking about, have first hand experience and can spot signs before a stiff upper-lipped Oxford university graduate who has never set foot in an estate can. I think she has done well to turn her life around, and is the perfect mentoring candidate.

  10. Reading your book atm…finding it hard to put it down! I Find the beginning so funny although it’s not all humour it’s about courage and strength. Love the stories about your mum especially about the track she played and u knee something was about to go down and the way she used to wing her bat. I believe you can change the youth of today with the journey you have travelled. As a young mother of 2 boys under the age 3 I’m scared to raise them up here in England as I’m afraid they will end up in gangs or victims I didn’t have an easy ride I bettered myself thru Islam..its all Allah’s plan anyway…I’m proud of u for bettering yourself using your past as a way to begin a new journey…not just for you but for the youth take care and wish you the best with it all salaam alaykum

  11. @Simone, she has become a mentor because there is no one better to teach children than someone with personal experience of doing wrong. Would you rather she carried on as she was? I’m not condoning what she did or who she was but everyone deserves a second chance

  12. I’d rather have someone mentoring me if they have had the actual experience and has been thru it for real..not just someone who has studied by the books I don’t think it will be very effective …she sees it as a lesson a lesson in which she is pursuing a career to help others who are going through what she went through and not just for a media thing..you know things happen for a reason..she deserves a second chance no doubt…and her daughter will grow to be very wise woman inshaAllah cos she will have learnt a lot from her mother I don’t know why people are so quick to judge imagine yourself in her shoes of her past…her past is gone and dusted I have nothing but respect

  13. Tracey Miller asks what people are doing for society? How about being productive, positive & progressive. Working hard, bringing up children around people like her and striving to ensure they follow the right path. How about keeping our kids away from guns & drugs, off the streets and making sure they become the lawyers who defend her kind and the doctors who stitch them up. Or making sure our children receive a good foundation so they don’t need mentoring by ex-criminals. Tracey Miller you OWE society! Don’t sit here and expect praise because you’re finally doing what you were supposed to do in the first place. You’re lucky to be alive and not in jail, damn right you should give back. How dare you look down on people who may not be mentoring but have not added to societies ills like you have, creating a ghetto wasteland of crime for our children. Seriously, you are not special sweetheart, you are tragic. Try to stay off the streets and be humble during your recovery. P.S. Who will benefit from the proceeds of your book? The victims?

  14. Simone & Melissa i agree with you guys. I would love to know if those people supporting the “BADDEST GIRL IN BRIXTON” where family members of the victims how they would feel then?
    There are so many ex gang members mentoring in our community and its not working, imagine seeing some of these people who used to run wild on the streets walking past you as if its nothing, its horrifying and we are supporting it.

    So an ex reformed rapist starts mentoring kids in the community, would you guys be ok with that? Murderer? I mean where does it stop?

    Now this is my opinion which I’m entitled too, we need more educated people helping our children, why is it black children are always the ones who get assistance from criminals.

    We need to do better, Education is the KEY!!

  15. Some of you people need to take a good long hard look at yourselves in the mirror. ” Let the one who is perfect cast the first stone”. If she manages to turn one persons mind from being involved in gang crime that could save my child’s life or even your budding doctor,lawyer or whatever else our children have become. Have any of you taken the time to write a review or give an opinion on how little the government has done to eliminate gang crime?. We have all done something wrong in our life(except @simone/mellisa). She has acknowledged her wrongs and because she can’t change the past she is trying to help someone make better decisions for the future. It is quite clear to see that you critics have had very little experience of the help offered by mainstream society, so u may be surprised to know that most people who work in this field do it as a job not because they care. Why don’t you guys stop criticiising and give up 1 hour of your day a week to help people who have no guidance .
    Andy

  16. I gave my opinion that has offended a few people on this message board… I wrote how I felt about people that are the victimazers changing their out look on life. I understand that this lady wants to up lift youths in a positive way and help them. But! It takes more than an ex gang member to help them turn their lives around, some things that youth offenders/ youth workers can do she cannot not do (on an educational level no pun intended) that is why their are proffessionals out there that are the ones who are liasing with the courts, police and social services to offer these youths; protection, safegaurd , moral and ethical approach for them to enter back into society…. the list goes on.
    From my perspectives and others who are sick and tired of youths in gangs who kill, rape and rob and use members in their gangs in particular females as weapons against each other is sickening and disturbing. God for bid that it is not your child who gets caught up with a gang, wheather being the victim or part of the gang, its serious and not a joke.
    I have not stabbed nor do I plan to stab someone because we know what the effects it can have on the victim… emotional and physical scarring therefore, the people that it has happend to are going to be pissed that she is causing hype because of her bad girl actions to others which I feel is not a thing to be made public about. Yes, she is raising awareness about gangs and crime but like myself I am tired off hearing ex black gangs members becoming a voice of peace and love within the community…its a joke! Too many. Furthermore, the damage has been done and the reason why is because the structure of gang culture is the peers that these youths and kids look up to from a young age that then leads to gang activities that fall into other structures this is known as repeat environment meaning that history repeats its self in those cases. Another example; 28’s and younger 28’s do you see the pattern??? We then get labbled into this group where black youths are most likely to be unemployed out of education ect….basically others spoil the success of others trying to achieve…discriminated because of others selfish behaviour towards others this is the stigma that these people have created and lets not forget that its not only black people that they rob ect… that reinforce’s hate, racism, stigma, labeling and lack of respect….

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.@ andy and simeon

    Thankyou, @coco, shona, melissa & sabrpatience (nods head)

  17. Andy, I work with youths, the courts and parliament to help our kids and the community.

    A lot of us are out there trying to build better futures for our kids, we don’t do it for press or praise so you would never know.

    And we haven’t been in gangs or stabbed anyone, so we don’t get to write books, make money or go on TV as the stereotypical bad black person now doing good. The only thing missing from this story is the great white ‘mentor’ saviour who took her in and changed her life.

  18. A BIG thank-you to everyone that has posted comments on here! Seriously, everyone is entitled to their opinions. That’s what makes us different and unique. I actually agree with SOME comments that might seem negative to others. There’s deffo nothing special about me. There’s certain things I’d like to say but I have to keep it to myself for various reasons.(Nothing bad or aimed at anyone on here) What I will say though, is that there are some really good parents who take parenting very seriously and keep their kids on the straight and narrow. I salute you!!! It’s very hard raising children.
    If nothing else I’ve created a debate and I think it’s a subject that needs to be addressed.

  19. Mellisa I’m very pleased to hear that. However I’m quite surprised that you still believe that first hand experience and inside knowledge from someone who has been there is not of any value. I am a firm believer in the motto “Experience is the greatest teacher”. There are some things that books can’t teach and sometimes you have to “relate” before you can “reach”.

  20. Teens are not stupid, they watch these gang members and try to emulate them, they know right from wrong but want the fast cars and money. When the gang members go to prison the “youngers” just see them as washed up and they dont believe it will happen to them. None of you who keep going on about how fantastic sour is are going on about the victims why is that?

    As for the 28s who you dont mind mentoring our kids they where Murderers – drug dealers and rapists!! A few of them are also mentors, the ones who are not dead or still in prison.

    Now why does the black community accept this? This is who Sour rolled with!!

  21. I came across a young mans status advertising a book for his friend, a book called Sour. As I saw the photo, I realised the lady who wrote the book was Tracey. I would like to make it known to all who do not know Tracey, she is infact a lovely lady. It was only seeing that this book was based on her life did I then realise she was even involved in a gang, as when I was growing up, she was always a really nice person to know. I would like that those who are quick to make assumptions, maybe it is necessary for you to take a look at yourself before you judge. I think Tracey has dealt with more than you could imagion, so I would like to ask how would you have dealt with the same situations? Would you have been able to turn your life around? Dont be to quick to judge as you never know another persons journey.
    Thank you Tracey for actually representing real positivity for the youth. I believe you are hope for some of young people who may feel that things cannot change…. cause your living proof that it can. If you believe, you can achieve. Blessings to you always.

  22. Interesting observations, I will take time to read the book in due course. The more appropriately trained people we have working with young people in our communities ( teachers, doctors, therapists, social workers, housing experts, lawyers, nurses, business experts, grand parents, mother, fathers etc.) in addition to the invaluable contribution that well trained and supported ex-gang members can make, the greater chance we will have of preventing larger numbers of young people going down that same negative path, well done so far Tracey Miller.

    I do have a niggling issue with the title of the book because it seemingly celebrates the things you are now working against, but that is only a small niggle because I know the pressure authors are under to make such stories attractive by focusing on the violence rather than the transformational story in order to generate media interest………….

    On that note i would urge you to be careful how you deal with the mainstream media. As I am sure you are all too aware, they are only interested in glorifying the violence that plays out in our communities.

    The propaganda machine, which is deceptively referred to as the media, is our number one enemy right now, not the police or gang members, because it is the media that pollutes the minds of our children before they are even competent enough to spell their own names.

    If the media was for us, the media would be promoting at least a balanced quota of positive black role models, but it isn’t so it doesn’t.

    We are fed a daily diet of dusky skinned individuals who are either gangsters or Jhadis or both, do not think the design on your T-shirt will have gone unnoticed……

    I do not see business men, lawyers, top surgeons, scientists or successful community activists being promoted or celebrated, and unfortunately our communities do not do enough to support our own community centric publications/media. The few black centric media outlets that do exist either do not do well in terms of content, distribution or strategic/meta objectives or do not focus on the black community in the UK, preferring more of an Africa centric or global approach in order to generate revenue….

    Hope that all makes sense Tracey, my name is Viv Ahmun, and I am happy to offer advice should you require it……….Have a blessed Sunday

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