The CVL soon found itself at the center of social and cultural life in Lawndale. The African Lion, funded by Chicago's Field Foundation, was a place of pride in the residents of Lawndale's African heritage. Dashikis and other African clothing was made and sold. Nipsey Russell modeled an African Lion dashiki attire on TV and gave the CVL credit: "It was made by gang members" he told his video audience.
A business training program was also started to encourage Black people to become entreprenuers who would maintain their African American identity.
The CVL sported the latest in fashion, and began negotiations to sell their products world wide. Art shows were held at Art & Soul, where aspiring Black artists could get training and encouragement. Don Mcllvaine painted two impressive murals on CVL buildings, including the awesome "Black Man's Dilemma" on the wall of Art & Soul. Here a mural is going up.
Art and clothing were eagerly bought both by Lawndale residents and people from around Chicago.
But these programs were just a start. Chief Alfonso began to argue that the CVL was no longer a gang. They had transformed into a corporation dedicated to the people of Lawndale.
Bobby Gore on the African Lion and other programs