American Gangster: Trap Queens is back for another season streaming now on BET+. Produced by A. Smith & Co. Production, the series explores the notorious lives of female criminals, from their rise to fall. Judge Greg Mathis serves as one of the show’s executive producers and hopes that these stories, narrated by Lil Kim, act as ‘cautionary tales’ and a ‘true wakeup call.’ As an advocate for urban youth and equal justice, Mathis strives to get the attention of young women and influence them to change their lives through this series.

How imperative was it to executive produce an unscripted series about the true lives of female gangsters?

When people hear the word gangster they normally think of men, but there are women who have equally compelling stories of their lives running a criminal organization. It was important for me to Executive Produce this series because their tragic stories are rarely reported. We have to make more noise and get the attention of young girls today who only see the lavish lifestyles and none of the heartache, paranoia and loss.


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As a Judge and mentor who’s involved in your community, do you believe these stories will help younger women steer away from this type of life?

I hope that these stories serve as cautionary tales, a true wakeup call for younger women who are in the streets before they end up in prison or worse, dead. We highlight the overly harsh and punitive sentences received by Black women; as well as assess the lack of fair and competent legal representation they often receive, the terrible conditions they can face in prison, and instances of police prejudice and brutality. We strive to paint an accurate picture of the potential consequences of their decisions so that they choose a different path.

For women who find themselves in this position, what advice would you give them?

The system is not set up for ex-offenders to win, so they have to be very clear about what changes they need to make if they are still in the streets, in prison or once they are released.  Different choices must be made. There are several programs that have been set up to help women transition to life after prison that they should take advantage of, but also, they may need to change their environment. It’s very easy to get sucked back into the game if they don’t come up with a strategy to create the life, they want… legally.




Featured image courtesy of BET+ & A. Smith & Co. Production