Critics of the drama based on the real-life “Black Mafia Family” crime syndicate have argued that the show glamorizes drug-trafficking and money laundering.
“Lifestyle choices are always going to put you at greater risk,” 50 Cent told CNN in a recent interview. “It’s going to give you entertainment and energy. If those weren’t lifestyle choices, it would still be a family drama.”
The “BMF” screen family consists of brothers Demetrius “Big Mitch” Flenori and Terry “Southwest Tea” Flenori, who moved to Detroit in the 1980s and headed the BMF.
Big Mitch is played by his son Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flanorie Jr. in his first role.
The younger Flanorie told CNN that he learned a lot about his father and his uncle — both of whom were imprisoned when he was young — through the role.
“I already knew a lot about my dad and my uncle that my father used to tell me and watch as I grow up,” he said. “But it was a completely different experience because now I got to learn about them in their childhood, when they grew up, what choices they made to become what they are today.”
It was also an experience that forged a bond between him and da Vinci, who plays the younger brother, Terry.
Da Vinci, best known for his performance as Darnell Hayes in the series “All American,” said, “We formed a brotherhood on and off screen.” “We both had a lot in common, we both had the same objective. We both took it personally at the level of careers and being actors and it was definitely seen on screen.”
The pair also had to learn what it was like to come of age in the poverty and violence of the Flenorie brothers’ Detroit neighborhood in the 1980s.
Flanorie said his father was excited to get the role.
“His first thought was that he said ‘Man, you better learn to act. You can’t play me and not look bad,'” the new actor recalled.
According to 50 Cent, young Flanorie actually brought it up.
He was roped in for the role by the rapper, actor, director and now executive producer. He also got friends Snoop Dogg and Eminem to play the role.
50 Cent said he has known for a long time that the network needed a variety of different material with “BMF” as well as the Starz hit “Power” in which he starred, produced and directed.
“When they start saying diversity, when you see these projects have hit the bullseye and its target audience is watching … Hollywood shouldn’t have a cookie cutter mentality.”
“It’s exciting because things are changing and changing,” he said. “Until they see what I’ve done here with ‘BMF’,” [Hollywood] will be affected. I have a cheat code.”
“BMF” debuts Sundays on Starz.