50 Cent has revealed why his latest TV project, BMF (Black Mafia Family), highlights the stories of black organized crime families with the same reverence as classics like The Godfather and Scarface.
The rapper’s new show on Starz focuses on the incredible true story of brothers Demetrius ‘Big Meech’ Flenory and Terry ‘Southwest T’ Flenory who grafted their way from poverty in southwest Detriot during the late 80s to become one of America’s most influential crime families.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about the inspiration behind his decision to bring the story of the legendary drug dealers to the masses, the Power creator explained his desire to highlight the ‘intelligence’ behind successful black criminals.
The In Da Club hitmaker explained: ‘When we say “organized crime”, it has a dual meaning within entertainment. It also means intelligence. This is why when people say organized crime, you can only think of white Italian Americans. You don’t think of any other culture.
‘When we said “legends” in the trailer and people said, “you are glorifying drug dealers”. But no-one says it was glorifying drug dealers with Scarface or when they did The Godfather.’
He continued: ‘This is a question that is made and comes up when diversity is injected into it. But this is the same concept as those films but in a different format’.
Indeed, the first season takes time to delve into the childhood of the brothers after 50 Cent and his showrunner Randy Huggins spent time talking with Big Meech, who is currently still serving his prison sentence.
The 21 Questions rapper stated: ‘When you tell an origin story, you get a chance to see the innocence and understand the choices they made, because they made them as kids at 15 years old.
‘You look and see a struggle that is a universal struggle. You learn about them having good Christian parents who are then watching their kids make these decisions and not feeling comfortable with what they’re doing.’
The rapper-turned-entrepreneur continued: ‘I felt like what would raise the level of intensity when people are watching a true story. I personally watch things differently when I know that it happened, versus it just being a good show to someone made up like this.
‘The communications between Randy Huggins, who is the writer and showrunner, and Big Meech and Terry is what makes the show special. As a Detroit native, he was able to highlight the financial distress they had been put under, how people that were around that made those choices because it was just like, “How do we survive?”‘
The P.I.M.P. rapper explained how he wanted to help viewers develop an understanding of the brothers’ roots because ‘it’s pretty tough for you to have compassion for them when you haven’t seen the innocence to begin with’.
BMF premieres Sunday, September 26 on STARZPLAY in the UK and Starz in the US.
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