Philadelphia – When former Black Mafia widow Thelma Wright released her book, “With Eyes From Both Sides – Living My Live In and Out of the Game,” co-penned with C. Alease, she divulged the tumultuous ups and downs of her life as a real life ‘mob wife.’ Now readers and television viewers alike will have the opportunity to see Wright tell her story on Tuesday night, June 25 at 10:00 p.m. EST, when the episode “Philly’s Gangster Queen: Thelma Wright” airs on the Biography Channel hit series, “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil.”
Thelma Wright was legendary as reputedly the most dangerously powerful Black woman in Philadelpha. As the wife of Jackie Wright, a top heroin dealer in the city, she was intricately connected with the Black Mafia, a gang that operated Philly’s drug trade throughout 1970 and into the 1980’s. Once widowed, and left as the young mother of a toddler son, she discreetly took over his business, running a bi-coastal drug empire, unbeknownst to family and friends around her.
Recognized by her distinguished, sparkling green eyes, Wright ruled the streets with incredible savvy and disarming charm. Yet, very few knew the real sadness and confusion in her heavy heart. While “With Eyes From Both Sides – Living My Life In and Out of the Game,” reveals Wright’s more intimate memories and angst as a women torn between two worlds, “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” is a documentary styled presentation connecting the details of her criminal enterprise. During the show, Wright, alongside family, friends and law enforcement experts lend credence to her rule over a criminal enterprise normally dominated by men.
Wright’s street reign was notorious. She grossed top dollars and lavishly lived the high life. Championship fights via private jets, European shopping sprees, customized Mercedes Benz cars, cruises to the Bahamas and even speed boating in Miami were mere footnotes in a lifestyle many envied. But everything that glitters is not gold and Wright is open and honest when revealing the dark side.
Wright’s background sets her apart from the typical tales of abuse and abandonment. In fact, she is quick to acknowledge that it was the strength of good parenting and strong family ties that laid her solid foundation and saw her through her darkest days. The product of a middle working class Black family, she attended Catholic school, was a star athlete as a child and was well provided for. It was romance and love that entangled her with one of the Black underworld’s most notorious gangs.
Today she is far removed from her former lifestyle and dedicated to keeping young women off the path she trekked. Her memoir is a source of motivation and encouragement and she spends her time touring and speaking before women’s groups, non-profit organizations and at book signings. Wright has presented as the keynote speaker at the Riverside Correctional Facility, a female prison in Philadelphia, lectured for criminal justice classes at various Penn State College campuses, encouraged audiences at The FFAWN Mary J. Blige Center in Yonkers, New York, as well as made motivational appearances at several schools and communities throughout her city.
“Most are not fortunate enough to survive the wicked lure of the streets, but fast money and fast living is not a comparable trade off for jail or being murdered. I am blessed beyond measure to have survived both and live to tell about it. My passion and fury now is to keep our young people, particularly women, away from the insanity, turmoil and desperation that awaits them when they take that route. Education not incarceration is the key. I can’t say it enough times, and it might sound like a cliché but crime does not pay, only living a righteous life does.”
For more information on “With Eyes From Both Sides – Living My Life In and Out of the Game,” go to http://www.ThelmaBWright.com.
To see a promo for the Biography Channel’s “Philly’s Gangster Queen: Thelma Wright” on “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” go to http://www.biography.com/tv/gangsters-americas-most-evil/videos/phillys-gangster-queen-thelma-wright-preview-30970435510 .