If you’ve never heard of the Black Mafia Family (BMF), you will soon. Hip-hop mogul Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has inked a deal to executive-produce the story of the BMF, and the first two episodes of the Starz original series are already wrapped up.
“Black Mafia Family” will be an eight-episode series based on the true story of two drug trafficking brothers from the streets of Southwest Detroit in the late 1980s who created one of the most influential crime families in the country, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory built a drug trade that made them millionaires and brought them into the world of hip-hop.
“I told you ‘Black Mafia Family’ was coming and it’s going to be the biggest show on television,” 50 Cent told The Hollywood Reporter. “Meech and Terry are legends and I am excited to bring their story to Starz.”
The brothers were both arrested in 2005. In 2008, Terry and Demetrius were sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Here are 15 things to know about Big Meech and the rise and fall of the Black Mafia Family.
The national drug organization raked in a whopping $270 million-plus in profits, employed more than 500 people and distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine, The Detroit News reported.
Despite being in prison, Big Meech boasted about living large in an interview with Cavario, founder of DonDiva and the founding senior editor of Hip Hop Weekly. Cavario interviewed Big Meech from his jail cell in 2019.
“Dudes ain’t never met nobody like me…I got several homes or condos,” Big Meech said of his assets and liquidity. “They ain’t used to that and they never seen no…Black man living like that and doing what I was doing…none of them was more liquid than me…I could go grab a million dollars throw it out the car.”
According to Big Meech, the plan was to venture into a legitimate business. But he and his brother got arrested for their illegal businesses before they could fulfill this goal.
“I’m was to start making a lot of legitimate money but then they came and snatched me up,” he said. “I could have grabbed a bunch of millions and have been somewhere where you can’t be extradited but that wasn’t what I wanted…I was trying to legitimize me and the whole family.”
He continued, “I mean I was 37 years old when I got picked up so I’m I was slowing down anyway cause I was getting kind of tired but when you’re the face of the family that’s the one thing…I’m doing everything to try to make this family successful.”
According to Big Meech, it wasn’t his flashy lifestyle and his illegally gotten gains that caused him to get arrested. He was brought down by his brother and the evidence against his brother, he said.
“I am the man that I always wanted to be. I’m a living legend…I’m fighting an offense, it’s too much time for a first-time nonviolent offense. I can’t point out the mistakes that brought me down because it brought me down, my brother’s indictment. I can’t pinpoint all the finger at him, but the thing is I didn’t get caught for the things that I do know.”
Big Meech said flaunting his wealth didn’t put him on the police radar. “You can’t say I’ve bought so many bottles of Crista or the billboards. I had four billboards up…The billboards didn’t bring me down…So I can’t say I would do something different, cause you can’t say what I did brought me down.”
Both brothers requested to be released from jail due to the covid-19 pandemic.
In May 2020, Big Meech asked to leave federal prison 11 years early. He was rejected. He appealed the decision and was again rejected earlier this month, Detroit News reported. His brother, Terry Flenory, known as Southwest T, was released from federal prison in May 2020 to serve his time on house arrest due to the pandemic, WXYZ reported.
The BMF cocaine drug ring operated in cities in 11 states including Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Birmingham, according to The Detroit News. In the Atlanta hub alone, the brothers distributed 2,500 kilos of cocaine each month.
When U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested the brothers in 2005, they also arrested more than 100 co-conspirators.
It was no surprise the brothers had obtained major wealth through drug dealing. They were not the ones to hide their riches. In fact, they flaunted it with parties, club nights, cars and hanging with hip-hop celebrities. But when the brothers were arrested, investigators seized $21 million worth of assets, including cash, jewelry, 13 homes in metro Detroit, Georgia and Los Angeles, and three dozen vehicles including a Lincoln limousine, The Detroit News reported.
Authorities alleged that BFM laundered money through Big Meech’s hip-hop label and promotions business, BMF Entertainment, and co-owned Juice Magazine.
BMF Entertainment tends to take credit for helping launch the career of the hip-hop artist Young Jeezy, although he was not signed to the label.
Big Meech actively promoted Jeezy’s career.
“He was very instrumental in Jeezy’s early career around 2003,” said Mara Shalhoup, author of “BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family,” in the Miami New Times. “What he did in Atlanta was promote a lot of parties for Jeezy and helped get his music spread around to all the strip clubs, which is how rappers would make it or break it.”
Jeezy wound up signing a deal with Def Jam and then he launched his own label, CTE.
During an investigation, authories said Big Meech was a suspect in the Nov. 11, 2003 murder of two men. One of the murdered men was Anthony “Wolf” Jones, the childhood friend and bodyguard of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, WXYZ reported. Some claim the murder, which involved a shootout in the Buckhead nightclub section of Atlanta, was over a debt Diddy owed to BFM. The claims have never been substantiated.
The double murders are still considered a cold case, according to the Gangster Report.
When Southwest T was released from prison due to covid-19 protocols in May 2020, 50 Cent “started trolling the likes of Irv Gotti, Diddy, and Jeezy about money they allegedly owe the Black Family Mafia kingpin,” Hip Hop DX reported. Then 50 Cent posted a tweet that implied Diddy had contacted Big T and made things right.
50 Cent shared a post from Big T that read, “SHOUT OUT TO @diddy TOLD ME SOME REAL SHIT YESTERDAY THANKS BROTHER I RESPECT THAT 100 PERCENT.”
50 Cent commented, “see diddy reached out to @bmfboss_swt_263 now everything good. #starz #BMF coming soon!”
During a home invasion in the DeKalb County area of Atlanta on May 10, 2005, hip-hop artist Gucci Mane shot and killed one of the intruders. At the time, Mane had been beefing with Young Jeezy, who had strong ties to BMF.
After the incident, Mane faced a murder charge. “Gucci’s defense attorneys would later allege that BMF was behind the home invasion. And the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office would say that the FBI was investigating BMF’s alleged involvement,” Creative Loafing reported.
Hip-hop star Bleu DaVinci was the only artist on the BMF Entertainment label. “I mean there’s no denying that cocaine money funded the label and promotion company,” author Shalhoup told the New Miami Times. “That’s pretty clear. I think, though, Meech really had genuine hope that he could transition out of the drug game into a legitimate enterprise.”
The Flenory brothers enjoyed a nearly unbreakable loyalty among their workers. “A blanket of silence — a true ‘mafia code,’ as one observer described it — remained wrapped around the enterprise. Dishonor was the ultimate sin. And Meech was held up as a kind of demigod,” Creative Loafing reported.
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While some believe BMF stands for “Black Mafia Family,” it is also thought to be an acronym for “Big Meech Flenory.” Apparently, Big Meech was recently thinking of the name change, All Hip Hop reported.
A release date has not been announced yet for “Black Mafia Family” on Starz, the cable and satellite TV network owned by Lions Gate Entertainment. The cast of “Black Mafia Family” includes Russell Hornsby, Steve Harris and Kash Doll.
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