Year of the Flag Boy (2014)


“I don’t wanna be a chief, I wanna be an Indian.”
– Gang Flag Irving “Honey” Banister, Creole Wild West
“He is the protector of the gang . . . a graceful and peaceful Indian.”
– Flag Boy Travis Carter, Uptown Warriors
“It’s like being put into a trance, I become a totally different person, no one can tell you what to do or how to dance.”
– Gang Flag Jeremy Lacen, Geronimo Hunters

Traditionally, a Flag Boy carries a decorated flag with the name of the group that is used to convey messages back and forth to the big chief through a series of covert signals, which begin with the Spy Boy, the first person encountered in a group. Modern innovations include gang flags and flag boys who walk with large decorated staffs, called “sticks,” with their group’s name or their position.

Individualistic creative expression is prized as a community asset. The ceremonial attire – referred to as “suits” by most insiders of the tradition – tell personal stories and that illuminate the beauty of the human spirit. Participants are masterful storytellers who weave complex ideas through visually beautiful designs, and pair them with percussion-driven chants that chronicle life within a mystical secret society.

Jeffery Ehrenreich
Introduction to The Flag Boy/Gang Flag Yearbook