In the early 1980s, Charles Cosby made a living selling crack on the streets of Oakland, California and quickly found himself nestled at the top of the food chain. Fate would have him write a letter to Griselda Blanco, the notorious cocaine "Godmother" serving twenty years hard time for the illegal trafficking of narcotics. In a whirlwind six months, Cosby was a multi-millionaire, Blanco's lover, and acting head of her billion-dollar cocaine smuggling empire.
Cosby's story is told in the documentary "Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' with the Godmother" released by Magnolia Home Entertainment on home video this past July 29. I recently had a chance to check in with Charles Cosby, the legendary "Mayor of Brookfield Village" and chat a bit about his story:
Landy: Hey Charles. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for DVDTOWN. How's life been treating you lately?
Cosby: Thanks for taking the time. Life is good. I have no complaints.
Landy: How's your family doing?
Cosby: My family is doing quite well. My younger children are in school, and the older ones are in the workforce.
Landy: For some of our readers who might not have seen "Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' with the Godmother," would you mind briefly telling us what your story is all about?
Cosby: "Cocaine Cowboys 2" is a story about my friendship, and eventual business and sexual relationship with Griselda Blanco, a former Colombian drug trafficker known the world over as "La Madrina" or "The Godmother."
Landy: Recently I sat down and watched "Cocaine Cowboys 2" which I thoroughly enjoyed. I thought it was very intense for a documentary (but in a good way). Have you seen the finished product yourself, and what did you think of it?
Cosby: I'm glad you enjoyed "Cocaine Cowboys 2," it's a helluva story in which I spelled out the zeros. The first time I viewed "Cocaine Cowboys 2" was June 20th in Las Vegas at the 10th annual Cinevegas Film Festival. The film is definitely one for the ages. There was not one boring scene, if I must say so myself.
Landy: It certainly was captivating all the way through from beginning to end. Billy Corben seemed pretty energized about the project and from listening to the audio commentary I could tell that he put a lot of heart into the production. Did you get a similar feeling, and were you happy with him in the director's chair?
Cosby: Billy Corben and Rakontur Films gave "Cocaine Cowboys 2" life. No other director or film company could've done a more superb job. Billy Corben, Alfred Spellman, David Cypkin and Evan Rosenfeld ate, slept, and breathed "Cocaine Cowboys 2" during fifteen grueling months of editing.
Landy: Wow, I didn't realize it took that long, but it definitely shows that a lot of time and effort went into the production. If you could hop into a DeLorean and travel back in time to the early ‘80s, is there anything in your life that you would do differently?
Cosby: Yes! I would get an education, become a successful lawyer and contribute to society rather than helping to tear society down!
Landy: Did you ever sample any of the narcotics that you were supplying, or were you strictly just a dealer?
Cosby: I have never indulged in illegal drug use, albeit alcohol, tobacco or cocaine.
Landy: Have you ever thought of writing a book about your experiences?
Cosby: I've written my memoirs with investigative journalist, Mark Ebner. We are pushing for an early '09 release.
Landy: That's great. I'll have to make a note to keep an eye out for it. Do you have a story that didn't make it into "Cocaine Cowboys 2" that you'd like to share with us?
Cosby: The guys from Rakontur and I were filming in Brookfield Village, the place where I grew up, and while we were on the street a friend who I hadn't seen in many years happened to be driving by in a van. He stopped and looked directly into the camera and said, "Charles Cosby is a legend. He is the Mayor of Brookfield Village." That was a beautiful thing.
Landy: Mayor . . . I like that. Griselda Blanco was deported back to Colombia after being released from prison in 2004. Do you believe she is still involved with drug trafficking?
Cosby: Griselda Blanco hasn't been involved in drug trafficking for a number of years. Believe it or not she happens to be a born-again Christian. Talk about a transformation. I wish Griselda Blanco well.
Landy: Do you still find yourself sleeping with one eye open, or do you think Blanco has moved on?
Cosby: When we filmed "Cocaine Cowboys 2" I made mention that there was a $1 Million contract on my life, but that was sixteen months ago. Time is the greatest healer of wounds. In fact, at the premiere of "Cocaine Cowboys 2" in Miami July 23rd my special guest was none other than Michael Corleone, Griselda Blanco's youngest child. When I introduced Michael to the 400-plus moviegoers they gave him a thundering ovation. Although Michael Corleone cannot legally endorse "Cocaine Cowboys 2," he endorses Charles Cosby--the man whom he looks up to as a father figure. Michael Corleone owns a very successful record company, Xtorxion Records in Miami.
Landy: If you had a chance to see Blanco today, would you say anything to her, and what would it be?
Cosby: I would tell Griselda I love her, and thank her for all that she did for me and my family.
Landy: If a feature film were to be scripted based on your life story, which actor would you like to see cast as you and which actress would make the best Griselda Blanco?
Cosby: In the very near future you will see my story in theaters. I'd want to see Don Cheadle and Salma Hayek play myself and Griselda Blanco.
Landy: I could easily picture them in those roles. Well, thanks again for setting aside some time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we go?
Cosby: Yes, I have one final thought: Linking up with Griselda 'The Godmother' Blanco was the crowning moment of my criminal career--a high of highs. The unlimited supply of cocaine readily at Blanco's disposal was the mother of all connections. There are only a few documented criminals who've surpassed the billion-dollar mark in illegal earnings. She was the first drug trafficker to do so. Each of those dollars has been allegedly stained by blood. You can't have drugs without violence whether on Blanco's level or those misguided young men who spend their days hustling on inner city street corners as I once did. In hindsight, if I was presented the opportunity of establishing a link to Griselda Blanco today, gain her trust as I did seventeen years ago, and become a multi-millionaire, I'd run in the opposite direction. An association with Blanco was indeed an occupational hazard. Though I enjoyed a level of wealth that would make most A-list celebrities green with envy, traveled the world, owned European automobiles and bedded beautiful women--as many as three in a single conquest--I was unhappy. In spite of all that I'd acquired, I realized I had nothing. The streets were a DAMN LIE!
For more information about Charles Cosby and "Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' with the Godmother," check out CharlesCosby.com
Read the Review for CC2