LeRoy McCarthy wanted to show some Brooklyn love to his favorite rapper by naming a local street corner after Biggie Smalls aka Christopher Wallace. The street in question is an intersection near Biggie’s childhood home, which is now quite gentrified. McCarthy started an online petition which garnered enough signatures to be presented at the community board hearing.
But no one wants a street named after an overweight, drug dealing, dead rapper.
According to DNA Info board members complained that Biggie was too criminal, too misogynistic, and, weirdly, too physically unfit to deserve the tribute.
From DNA Info:
CB2 member Lucy Koteen said she “looked up the rapper’s history” and read what she had learned to the full board Tuesday night.
“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.”
Ken Lowy, board member and owner of the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, said he did not appreciate that the rapper, whose birth name was Christopher Wallace, referred to women with derogatory names in his music.
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.”
Truth be told, Brooklyn isn’t the Brooklyn it used to be. If Christopher Wallace was alive today and he walked around his neighborhood, he’d probably ask, “Where the f*ck did all of these white people come from?” In any event, the CB2 members should be thanking Wallace for their high property values. The late rapper’s home is now listed for over $700K.