(“BMF” cast photo — from left to right, Holmes Lindsay IV, Da’Vinchi, writer Randy Huggins, Michole Briana White, 50 Cent, Demetrius ‘Lil Meech’ Flenory.)
Rapper 50 Cent continues to dominate the television game with the latest title added to his mounting resume. Detroit-based “BMF” follows notorious brothers Demetrius and Terry Flenory, better known as Big Meech and Southwest T. Together, the two would take over the narcotics industry in Detroit, spanning multiple cities through the Midwest and south to Atlanta where the dirty south would prove to be their demise. Hosting a premiere event for Detroiters, 50 Cent brought the stars of “BMF” to Emagine Royal Oak for a preview of the series.
The STARZ series “BMF,” Black Mafia Family, takes a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of the crime family. More than becoming Kings of the streets and stamping their name as Detroit legends, “BMF” tells the story of family, loyalty, success, and brotherhood that runs deeper than the Flenorys, extending to all who joined in their journey.
The iconic lead role of Demetrius ‘Big Meech’ Flenory is headed by a person whose real life is the very essence of the storyline. Demetrius Flenory Jr., known as Lil Meech, makes his acting debut portraying his father in the series. Training with actress, producer, and director Tasha Smith, Lil Meech delivers a raw look into not only his father’s empire, but delivers all the nuances that bring a character to life. Despite it being his acting debut, having a blueprint to the storyline gave Lil Meech a unique advantage.
“I spent two years in intense acting for a reason and I really put my foot down and showed people I was born for this role,” says Lil Meech. “I got to know a lot of different stuff about my father like about his childhood, Detroit in the 80’s — the fashion was different, the music was different, culturally it’s a history book for me and for everybody.”
The role of book smart brother Southwest T is played by actor Da’Vinchi whose acting career has begun to take off working alongside Ben Affleck in “The Way Back” and in Freeform’s “Grown-ish.” Playing brothers, Da’Vinchi and Lil Meech were able to use each other as inspiration in their roles in “BMF.”
“The dopest part about that is we had some dope chemistry. I’ve been in the game a little longer than him, but he’s the bloodline to the family so he was like my personal Google,” says Da’Vinchi. “He would give it to me from his perspective. He even put me on the phone with his Pops a few times so that was lovely, that was amazing.”
Also having the opportunity to meet Southwest T in person and speak with him about the role, Da’Vinchi plans to bring him to life for viewers while still adding his own touch.
“I’m still bringing my charisma and my own little sauce to it, but I tried to stay as true as possible with how they broke the character down for me,” says Da’Vinchi.
Set and partially filmed in Detroit, “BMF” taps into Detroit in the 1980’s complete with mink coats, Coney Island, the auto industry, and high schools nestled in the heart of the city. Viewers will also see other 80’s style moments like crimp-styled hair, pagers, and Cazel glasses. At the series premiere, held at Emagine Royal Oak Theatre, the show’s writer, Randy Huggins, expressed wanting to ensure the show’s authenticity rang true and give Detroiters a sense of pride on a national scale.
“To be able to tell a story about my hometown, which doesn’t get the love it deserves on TV — to be able to shine a light on that — Detroit has its own culture, we have our own music, we have our own dress code and we have our own language. We don’t say ‘soda’ we say ‘pop.’ You’re going to see that in the show,” says Huggins. “It’s really special to do this about Detroit and then to bring an event like this back home is like the most special thing in my life.”
Huggins, who is no stranger to the writing table or to 50 Cent, has also written for the rapper’s initial hit STARZ series, “Power.” Despite his many writing credits, the Detroit native notes working alongside Lil Meech provided an opportunity to work on scene development with the budding actor, but quickly gained footing to be able to contend with other A-list actors on-set.
“To see the growth and the maturation, and to see him grow from a boy to a man and find this opportunity, which doesn’t happen for African Americans. This is a guy who had never done that (acting) and he got an opportunity. That is the American Dream,” says Huggins.
Arkeisha “Kash Doll” Knight will add to the show’s authentic Detroit feel as she portrays Monique Greene, Big Meech’s love interest and the main woman of one of Big Meech’s rivals.
“My character Monique is something else. She’s in a love triangle with [Big] Meech and his rival, which is my baby daddy, but she’s a mom first so she has to make some tough decisions,” says Kash Doll.
The series will also feature another Detroit legend. Rapper Eminem, who is credited with helping to launch 50 Cent’s musical stardom, will appear as Richard Wershe Jr., better known as White Boy Rick, in episode seven.
While there has been much fanfare around the highly anticipated STARZ series, the actors are excited to deliver to fans a span of work that took research, building relationships between the actors and the real-life individuals they portray, and gives a fresh new perspective on what the public’s perception is of Big Meech, Southwest T and BMF.
“I’m most excited for everybody to just see how my dad really was because everybody has their own opinion of him and people can only go off of documentaries or what they hear. They don’t know the origin story of how he started and how he blew up and how he made those first decisions of becoming a man,” says Lil Meech. “Now is a chance for people to see how good of a person he was, how loving and caring he was, not just what you heard because it’s much more than the drugs.
The show airs on STARZ Sunday nights at 9 p.m. For subscribers with the STARZ app, the show will be available to stream at midnight on Sunday.