To boil down the concerns voiced by the Brooklyn community board, the Notorious B.I.G. is too fat, misogynistic and violent to have a street corner named after him.
Brooklynite LeRoy McCarthy started an online petition to change the name of an intersection close to Biggie’s childhood residence in Clinton Hill to ‘Christopher Wallace Way’ and made it all the way to the community board. Supported by two local churches, a mosque, local businesses, block association and more than 1,000 people from around the world signed the petition. Unfortunately community board members opposed the idea, after what looks like the briefest of Wikipedia searches played a hand in their final decision:
“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.”
In defence McCarthy says that size-ism and the unfortunate circumstances of Biggie Smalls death shouldn’t be taken into account, stating;
“There are many artists that share stories in a vernacular that their audiences understand, Biggie used the language from the streets he grew up in to convey what he wanted to say.”
Despite the lack of support from board members, a final decision has been sidelined until public advocate and councilor Letitia James puts her support behind the proposal – otherwise no dice.
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