Just when vintage hip hop fans were celebrating the idea of the late Biggie Smalls getting a street named after him, some community board members said he was a misogynist criminal who was too fat to be honored.
Lucy Koteen, a CB2 committee member, “looked up the rapper’s history” and reported what she found on Tuesday night to the full board.
“He started selling drugs at 12, he was a school dropout at 17, he was arrested for drugs and weapons charge, he was arrested for parole violations, he was arrested in North Carolina for crack cocaine, in 1996 he was again arrested for assault, he had a violent death and physically the man is not exactly a role model for youth,” she said. “I don’t see how this guy was a role model and frankly it offends me.”
Board member Kenn Lowy, who also owns the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, says he was turned off by the rapper’s lyrics that referred to women with derogatory names.
But the critic that become the real stumbling block for the Biggie’s legacy to be transferred to a street came from councilwoman and candidate for public advocate Letitia James. She has yet to submit the letter of support that is needed for the proposal to move forward.
So it became “another day, another struggle” for LeRoy McCarthy; who started the movement to co-name the corner of St. James Place and Fulton Street “Christopher Wallace Way.”
McCarthy said after the meeting that “board members should not hold Wallace’s physical appearance nor how he died against him.”
“There are many artists that share stories in a vernacular that their audiences understand,” said McCarthy in response to the complaint about misogynistic lyrics. “Biggie used the language from the streets he grew up in to convey what he wanted to say.”