'BMF': Tasha Smith Says It Was Important to Humanize Big Meech and Southwest T

BMF is the Starz network’s latest crime drama. Executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, the show, centers on the Flenory brothers’ rise and fall. Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory (Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr.) and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory (Da’Vinchi) began their career as small-time drug dealers in Detroit before rising to become two of the biggest drug traffickers in the country.

Though the brothers were eventually imprisoned for their crimes, BMF director Tasha Smith says it’s important to humanize them and their story.

‘BMF’ is based on a true story

The Flenory brothers came of age in the 1980s in Detroit. They began their career when they were just teens selling bags of cocaine for $50. However, when the crack cocaine epidemic exploded, their business skyrocketed. Creator and showrunner Randy Huggins was born and raised in Detroit amid the same era, so he wanted the story to remain as accurate as possible.

“I took some liberties, but everything there is based on a story,” Huggins told Urban Hollywood 411. “Obviously, you can’t have people’s names in there. Obviously, some of the places may have changed.”

He added, “I don’t think there’s a character in there, that I hadn’t heard of,” he said. “I may have to take a creative liberty to make an art pop a little bit more. I may have to take a creative license to make a scene funnier than it may have been, but that’s just part of telling a story. This is not a documentary.”

‘BMF’ director Tasha Smith wanted to humanize Big Meech and Southwest T

In 2005 both Southwest T and Big Meech were sentenced to prison for money laundering and drug trafficking. Southwest T was released in early 2021 amid COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns while Big Meech will remain in jail until 2028.

No one is questioning the illegality of their enterprise. However, director/actor Tasha Smith wanted to humanize the men instead of vilifying them. “I just wanted to give a little justice to the story of Big Meech and Terry Flenory and people like them by putting some humanity on it,” Smith told TV Line. “When you think about crime and crime lords, the fictional Corleones and the real Gottis are embraced. A lot of times, when it comes to the Black community, there is a stigma where other communities are glorified. But BMF shows some empathy and understanding on the way these brothers were brought up in a two-parent home.”

Demetrius ‘Lil Meech’ Flenory Jr. wanted to make his father proud

When it comes to portraying his father, Lil Meech did not take the task lightly. The actor spoke with his father every day while filming and he anxiously awaited his response to the pilot. “No one’s credibility amounts to his,” he told The Source. “I just want him to tell me he’s proud- he’s seen it, and he’s happy I did it and I killed it. Once I hear that, then it’s all good for me. That’s what I want for my family.”

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