God Body is a large organization made up of blacks and latinos. This organization is a unity of smaller individual sub-sets known as Ciphers. Each cipher is known to have their own distinctive name, but all use the number “7” hand sign when saluting one another. God Body also has another hand sign they throw up which resembles the peace sign, but with both fingers together.
God Body started in 1976 by members of the Nation of Gods and Earths in the Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City and uses the lessons of the Nation of Gods and Earths to live by. They are mainly identified by their tattoos of the flag of The Nation of Gods and Earths and their beads which consist of 2 distinct patterns:
1. 360 or 120 black beads and a single gold bead (which is sometimes substituted with a yellow bead or a medallion of the NGE flag).
2. 360 or 120 Black and Gold beads in sets of 7 beads per color. (7 black and 7 gold until 360 or 120 beads are used).
They can also be identified by their extensive use of the colors black and gold, such as black or gold bandannas, black or gold durags, black and/or gold New York Yankee caps, and wearing completely black clothing with a hint of gold.
God Body was started to create organization and structure for members of the NGE in prison so they can unite and strategically combat the menacing gangs who targeted members of the nation with violence due to their peaceful nature and lack of structure. Before this newly found stability and unity within the nation, they were just scattered members of the NGE throughout the prison system who, more often than not, ended up dropping the NGE teachings to join gangs instead. Loyal members of the NGE frowned upon any member joining a gang, but most members had no choice but to join one of the many gangs in New York City’s gang controlled prisons or to be a victim of their violence.
Throughout the early 70’s there were isolated groups of NGE members who banded together to strike back at anybody who targeted them with violence. They called it “practicing justice”. They were not accepted by the majority of the NGE, who preferred a non-violent approach (Peace). By 1976 as more and more groups of NGE members splintered off to practice justice, those groups decided to unite and create an organization which they called “God Body”. God Body members still considered themselves members of the Nation of Gods and Earths and still used the NGE lessons to live by, even though the majority of the NGE didn’t accept them and considered them a violent street gang that shouldn’t call themselves members of the NGE.
By the 1990’s the concept of God Body had already rapidly spread throughout all prison systems on the East Coast and into the streets. As time passed a lot of the individual Ciphers within God Body began to operate as gangs and participate in bloody turf wars on the streets and prisons because other gangs viewed them as a gang and engaged them as such. The biggest enemy of God Body throughout the 70’s to the mid 90’s was the Universal Zulu Nation. Many Ciphers of God Body also participated heavily in the drug trade to fund themselves during the major crack era that hit NYC in the late 80’s and continue to do so today.
Today the Nation of Gods and Earths have mostly accepted God Body as their vanguard group used to protect and safeguard the ideology of the NGE and serve as protection and security to members of the NGE on the streets and in prison who decide to practice Peace over Justice. Each cipher in God Body has a rank structure as follows:
Captain (Capt.): The Duty of a Captain is to give Orders to the Lieutenants. Each Cipher must have a Captain. There can only be one Captain in each cipher which is voted in by the majority of the Lieutenants. A member of the NGE can appoint himself Captain only if he is starting his own Cipher, which any member of the NGE who is not a part of any God Body Cipher has the right to do.
Lieutenants (Lieu.): The duty of the Lieutenants is to teach and train the soldiers in God Body. Lieutenants are chosen by the Captain. There can only be up to seven Lieutenants in each Cipher, but each Cipher must have at least one to be considered complete. Lieutenants must have served time as a Soldier, with the exception of new Ciphers in which the Captain can immediately appoint up to seven Lieutenants to fill the spot.
Soldiers: The Duty of the soldiers is to carry out the orders given by the lieutenants. Potential soldiers can only be chosen by the Lieutenant (not Captain) but have to be brought before the Captain for acceptance. If the Captain doesn’t accept, then that person cannot join that Cipher but still has the right to join another or start his own. There is no limit on the amount of soldiers a Cipher can have, but each Cipher must have at least one to be considered complete.
Once a member has joined or created a Cipher he must stay a part of that Cipher for the rest of his physical existence or until he chooses to retire from that Cipher which he can do at any time. Upon retiring from a Cipher that person gives up the right to join a Cipher ever again and also gives up the right to start a new one, however that person is still a respected member of the Nation of Gods and Earths.
Two very well known God Body Ciphers include the Supreme Team in Queens, NY (the infamous Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff was the Captain of this Cipher) and the Killer Bees in Staten Island, NY (a lot of members of the Wu Tang Clan belonged to this Cipher).