Critics of the drama, based on the real life “Black Mafia Family” crime syndicate, have argued the show glamorizes drug-trafficking and money laundering.
“The lifestyle choices are always going to give you more danger,” 50 Cent told CNN in a recent interview. “It’s going to give you entertainment and energy. If those lifestyle choices weren’t there, it would still be a family drama.”
The “BMF” screen family is comprised of brothers Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, who came up in Detroit in the 1980s and led BMF.
Big Meech is played by his son, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr., in his debut role.
The younger Flenory told CNN he learned a great deal about his father and his uncle — both imprisoned when he was a youngster — through the role.
“I already knew a lot about my dad and my uncle that my father used to tell me and I used to see growing up,” he said. “But this was a whole different experience because now I had to learn about them in their childhood, when they grew up, what choices they made to become who they are today.”
It was also an experience which formed a bond between him and Da’Vinchi, who plays younger brother Terry.
“We formed a brotherhood on and off screen,” said Da’Vinchi, known for his performance as Darnell Hayes on the series “All American.” “We had a lot of similarities, we both had the same objective. We both took this personally on a career level and being artists and that was definitely seen on screen.”
The pair also had to learn what life was like coming of age in the poverty and violence of the Flenory brothers’ Detroit neighborhood in the 1980s.
Flenory said his father was excited for him to get the role.
“His first thought that he said was ‘Man, you better learn how to act. You can’t be playing me and look bad,'” the new actor recalled.
According to 50 Cent, the younger Flenory indeed brought it.
The rapper, turned actor, turned director and now executive producer handpicked him for the part. He also got friends Snoop Dogg and Eminem to take on roles.
50 Cent said he’s long been aware that networks need the type of diverse content he’s offering with “BMF,” as well as the Starz hit “Power” in which he starred, produced and directed.
“When they start to say diversity, when you see these projects hit the bullseye and its targeted audience is watching… like when ‘Power’ went number one with African Americans and Latinos and the universe continues that success, it says you don’t have to have that cookie cutter mentality that Hollywood has had.”
“It’s exciting because things are shifting and changing,” he added. “By the time they see what I did here with ‘BMF,’ [Hollywood] will be impressed. I’ve got the cheat code.”
“BMF” starts Sunday on Starz.