Everyone starts as a product of their environment. How we are raised, our primary caretakers, the environment we grow up in, and the messages that we get about ourselves and our place in this world, all shape who we become. Most people are held hostage by that one identity, that set of ideals, and become entrenched in a certain mindset forever.
There is an expression that you may have heard, from the popular Sandra Bullock movie Hope Floats (1998), that “Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome.” It is possible, but for those who can truly overcome and design a new life, it takes an excessive amount of will and determination as well as a complete shift in perspective and mindset. The word mindset has become more popular in recent years and people are aware of the benefits of having a healthy mindset. It’s more common to understand the need to change how you view yourself and interact with your world to have a different result. A lot of that comes down to your “Why” for being and doing differently.
So, what does it mean to have a shift that truly changes everything? Quawntay “Bosco” Adams is a man who embodies this type of massive shift, and he’s inspiring a generation with his story that’s now a major motion picture. Adams grew up in the hood in Compton and became a product of his environment, thinking that crime was his only way forward in the world. Adams says, “My father was one of the original Compton Crips. My entire family and community was involved in that lifestyle. From the time I was born until my late teens, I believed there were no other opportunities for young black men except drug dealing and gangbanging.”
The path of his life was governed by his beliefs at that time. According to Adams, “My mindset before my arrest was almost that of a victim mentality. I believed circumstances and social conditions were the defining factors to success.”
After being arrested in a sting operation at 28 years old and sentenced to 35 years for the attempt to possess marijuana, it seemed Adams was doomed to become another statistic in the system. But what about his why? Shortly after being arrested, Adams learned that he was to be a father. At that point, something in him changed and he knew he could not let the cycle continue for his child.
Adams was determined to escape. “I realized that I was being a victim of socioeconomic conditioning and repeating the same cycle my father had repeated. I felt like a loser.” Adams continues, “My legacy would be defined as another young black man incarcerated and absent from his child’s life. The reality of that hurt. So, I decided to stop being a victim and to start taking control of the situation.” He did all that he could see to do in the situation, plotting to escape. He escaped three times, the last from solitary confinement where he was being monitored 24 hours a day. Once more, he was recaptured.
Sharing His Story
After being recaptured, he gained international notoriety by being featured in National Geographic’s Breakout and went on to write his memoir, Chasin’ Freedum, Memoirs of a modern-day
slave escapist chasing freedom the wrong way. “I wanted to give people a glimpse into the mind and heart of a man who grew up in an environment like I had,” Bosco says, “And I wanted people to understand that we are not inherently bad people even though we are caught up in the criminal justice system. I wanted to show them that we all have a degree of intellect and that giving the ability to have hope and ambition and to believe that there is something greater out there for us is what is necessary for us to be successful in life. I wanted to show how as a kid, I did not have that, but also show that whenever I had an accomplishment, my entire life shifted and changed for the greater.”
He felt compelled to share about his life, even though he didn’t know where the creation of his memoir was taking him. Usually, guards pass out ten sheets of paper per week to inmates at the Pennsylvania prison where Adams was held. “It took me a year to write up my memoir, working on it every day in solitary confinement. I traded stamps and Honeybuns for more paper and pens. Sometimes I wrote for 6-8 hours per day.”
What Adams realized, sitting alone in his cell, allowed him to become the man who would make the biggest escape of all: if you are free in your mind, then you are truly free. This was an evolution for him, one that he eventually came to while in solitary confinement near the end of the writing process. His self-published book, under Jailhouse Publishing, was completed in 2015.
A Motion to Be Free
At the end of 2019, there was another twist that gave Adams hope. A new statute was signed into law allowing for reinterpretation of his case. Adams filed a motion, then fired his attorney, and won his freedom after serving 16 years in custody. “This was almost as hard as escaping from prison. But this time I escaped from prison, by acting as my attorney and gained my freedom.”
After being released in July of 2020, life moved quickly for Adams. He was able to be a parent to his daughter, getting full custody of her. He then tackled the next hurdle of putting his movie together, attracting A-list stars, and raising the money to make it happen. Bosco explains, “The complications of raising money, and putting together a film, though extremely difficult, was not as daunting as the tasks I had undertaken before that.”
The Movie: Bosco
The film is now a major motion picture. The cast of Bosco includes Thomas Jane, Vivica A. Fox, Tyrese Gibson, Theo Rossi, Nikki Blonsky, with Aubrey Joseph portraying Adams. It is directed by Nicholas Manuel Pino. The soundtrack for the film boasts talent like Snoop Dogg, Dave East, DDG, and The Game.
As a Peacock Original, it will premiere on February 2nd. Adams is having a special Premiere Party in Los Angeles on January 31st when the stars are sure to be out. This exclusive event at an intimate venue will include special behind-the-scenes footage, clips of his upcoming documentary, and a musical performance by rapper DDG and The Game. “This event is more of a social calling to galvanize people to stand behind my story and other people in need of such inspiration than it is about promoting a movie.”
Adams’s memoir is now being re-released in February 2024 by Top Talent Publishing, with more updates to his story. Look for Chasin’ Freedum: The True Story of Bosco to learn more about his fascinating journey thus far.
Adams is raising awareness for his story and his film projects as well as his nonprofit, the Chasin’ Freedum Foundation, which helps to minimize the non-violent offender prison population. “My goal for this foundation, when it gains traction and funding is freeing people who don’t deserve to be in there and preventing kids from taking the path that leads to prison,” says Adams.
Fulfill Your Purpose
Now also making a name for himself as a speaker, Quawntay “Bosco” Adams continues to raise the bar and inspire people to become the legacy they are meant to become. “It’s about taking ownership of who you are, and everything that is thrown at you,” Adams remarks. “Embrace it all and utilize it all to fulfill your purpose. Everything that happens to us and that is thrown our way is meant to help us fulfill our purpose.” Find Bosco at: quawntayboscoadams.com