Starz drama recalls 1980s Detroit drug ring
They came from good, God-fearing families whose parents insisted they stay in school and get an education. But these Detroit teens still wound up as part of the “BMF” or Black Mafia Family.
Inspired by a true story and premiering Sunday, Sept. 26, on Starz, the so-titled drama series tells the story of brothers Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory (played by his son Demetrius Flenory Jr., “Euphoria”) and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory (Da’Vinchi, “The Way Back”), two late-1980s youths raised by parents Charles (Russell Hornsby, “The Hate U Give”) and Lucille (Michole Briana White, “Goliath”). Charles is as earnest as they come, a blue-collar guy working two jobs to support his family. But they still struggle to get by.
At the same time, the lure of the easy, big money to be made in the drug trade in their southwest Detroit neighborhood proves too seductive for the two boys, who see it as the only way out of their family’s endless cycle of poverty. Eventually, their machinations lead them to create the Black Mafia Family, the most prominent drug trafficking organization in the U.S. at that time.
The series comes from creator Randy Huggins and executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who previously collaborated on Starz’s “Power,” and is the story of good people forced by circumstance into bad choices.
“At its core, it’s a series about family,” explains Huggins. “It’s a series about love, love for one another, love for the community, and it’s about these guys that didn’t really have an opportunity because of the situation that was facing them within the city of Detroit in the ’80s. This was their only way out. … They made decisions that they thought were the best for them at that time.”
Of course, history tells us that the BMF’s reign would be finite. Many members came under indictment by the DEA in 2005 and both brothers would be convicted on drug trafficking charges and sentenced in 2008 to 30 years in prison, where they are today. Demetrius Flenory Jr., who served as an informal fact-checker on the series, is happy with the way his family was portrayed and says they would be proud.
“Playing my father (was) amazing,” he says. “Just getting to talk to him and hear all his childhood stories and actually live in his shoes and actually get to do some of the stuff he did … it just feels amazing … . And I know my dad will love it.”