To call BMF a story about drug dealers is a wrongful choice and only scratches the surface of a multi-layered structure that would reveal so much more if you dug a bit more into it. The show retells the stories of Demetrius “Meech” Flenory and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory and their Black Mafia Family organization, which became one of the country’s highest-profiled drug organizations from the late ‘90s into the 2000s. The show does so by also shedding light on Detroit environment the brothers grew up in, the circumstances they were forced into, the decisions they made as a result, and their goal to do right by their loved ones day in and day out. In a world that constantly places Black and brown bodies at a disadvantage, especially in systemic ways, the Flenorys might tell you that they made lemonade out of the lemons that life dealt them.
Countless TV shows have recounted stories of the past, even stories similar to that of BMF, but one of the reasons that make the show truly unique is its real-life connection to the subjects of the show. The series stars Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr. as his father, a role that was given to him after 50 Cent, one the executive producers on BMF, handpicked by him and put him through acting classes for two years in preparation for the series.
Flenory Jr. has taken things a new level in season two of BMF. Ahead of the halfway mark in this season and fresh off a renewal for season 3, we caught up with Flenory Jr. to talk about his character and dad’s unique qualities, the true meaning of BMF, and more.
With season 2 of ‘BMF’ in full swing, how has your perception of the acting world and wanting to be a part of it changed since you started with the show?
Season two is all about elevating for me. Especially [with] this being my second season ever and still being in my beginning, I wanted to be better than last season, of course. I wanted to show everybody my growth, I wanted to show people that I take this 100% seriously, and every season, I want everybody to be able to see my growth. The season’s about elevating at the end of the day, not only for me but for the whole cast. We have more acting, more action, just more everything, more dialogue. This season, we’re fighting different things, different obstacles to thrown at Meech and Terry’s way. Even though they’re both in the game together, Terry doesn’t feel how Meech feels. He isn’t a gladiator like Meech and Meech already knows what he wants to do. Terry’s still second-guessing you know, he wants to go legit. We’re fighting that obstacle between the two brothers and Meech has to show him and his crew that he could do anything alone or with them.
Meech is operating this group without Terry as his main partner. He’s able to make the necessary moves to maintain BMF, but what would you say is missing with Terry’s absence from the crew?
It still gives that drive, you know feeling? Meech, he gets in your face [or] he can kind of smooth talk into making you do what he wants you to do. Terry I feel, when you have a team, when you have two brothers that have the same type of drive, it’s different than just one person. It’s in that brotherly love and that drive they had, when he first started, playing together for everything. Now, he’s by himself. I feel he’s missing that other person, because B-Mickie is also not around, so he has to second-guess him too. Meech is like I told you, he’ll do things by himself and show people after the fact like, “Okay, I got it done without you. So you’re either gonna jump on board or I keep doing it without you.” [He’s] that type of person.
What do you love the most about the fact that season two is focused on building and strengthening the family that is BMF?
My dad was a very, very family-oriented guy. He loved his family more than anything, and you can see that in the show, but it’s kind of hard, but my dad wanted the whole world to know how much of a family-oriented guy was. His family was dealing with the conflict of not being able to pay their bills, even though they were working two or three jobs. So my dad already grew up with the mindset of “I’m going to be able to take care of my family. God can’t pay the bills, like yeah we believe in God, we go to church, but somebody has to step up and pay the bills.” He was always the head of the family, always thinking about the extra mile. He hated the position his parents were in. He and his brother were wearing holes in their shoes, going to school in 20-degree weather, inhumane conditions [in the] murder capital of the world? So it’s like do you watch your family suffer and live in poverty? Or do you do something about it?
In a past interview, Da’Vinchi made note of the impact acting on the show has had on him, so I’m wondering the same for you. How has your role on BMF altered your mental or perception of this world that you’re quite connected to?
It gave me a full 180 on life. I feel like it made me a better person, it made me look at things differently just because I was sheltered growing up. I had no clue how my dad grew up, it was just two totally different lifestyles. They sheltered me so I wouldn’t have to deal with the dark parts of the world. My dad had to grow up differently. His parents didn’t want him to grow up like that, but it was different. In that world, where it was the murder capital of the world, all he had was drug-infested communities. I’m blessed to be able to not have to go to that kind of thing, but it’s crazy to see how my dad grew up and had to be a man at such a young age and take care of his family with every doubt against him. I appreciate it, for sure.
Is there ever a point where Meech feels the need to return home? With the struggles Terry faces with Charles, it’s hard to imagine so, but why do you or don’t you think Meech reaches that point?
I definitely don’t want to give any spoilers. Terry is still trying to battle between both like, he doesn’t know what he wants. Meech is the type of person who doesn’t want to keep hearing the same thing over and over. He knows if he goes home, he’s gonna have to see dad’s attitude and maybe hear mom’s mouth about the same thing. He’d rather not come home and come home and he feels like it. Terry is a different person, they’re two totally different brothers. Meech is that type of gladiator who doesn’t want to deal with all that.
Charles frustrates a lot of people on social media, so I wanted to ask, how close is his character to that of Meech’s real-life dad?
[Laughs] Yeah, pops was an interesting guy. He was stern just because he didn’t want Meech and Terry to be any other way he wanted. Back then, old-school people, they different. My dad, his father was just very stern and strict because he didn’t want them to get killed or be in jail. It’s a different type of love you have for your children when they’re out in the streets and you don’t know what they’re doing, wondering what they’re doing, and you’re just scared.
Shifting back to Meech’s character, do you ever feel like sometimes he was too ambitious? To the point that he was looking too far ahead and missing the things in front of him? For example, Lamar being alive.
I feel like everything happens for a reason. My dad made very, very smart decisions, especially with being of a young age and having to grow up and be a grown man. At the age of 17, he already made his first million dollars, so he was a different 17-year-old than any of us. He already had to take care of his family at 17, so he probably was very overly ambitious, but he always had his eye on the prize and knew what he wanted before he got there. With us, we just live life and we might think about things down the line, but we don’t really go after me in pursuit of how we should. My dad was always an over-pursuer [and] overly ambitious, so he’s gonna get it done. Being overly ambitious could hurt or it could help you, but I feel like it helped him in most of his situations. Being the person that he was and having a good heart that he has, everything he did, he did with good intentions. Even though he isn’t where he wants to be right now, I feel he lived a great life and he helped a lot of people.
It seems like we’re arriving at a rift between B-Mickie and Terry after your character gets shot. What can tell us about how that plays out?
Terry’s definitely probably gonna be looking at B-Mickie [with a] side eye, just because Terry was the person to always think that B-Mickie was up to something snakey behind my back. I kind of looked at it and kind of was believing it for a second, but I don’t want to believe the bad. I feel like my character Meech doesn’t want to believe that B-Mickie doesn’t have his back because I already don’t have anybody to lean on anyway. It’s like, damn I can’t lean on my best friend when my brother’s already kinda getting out on me? I think this is definitely gonna put B-Mickie in the hot seat after all these consecutive events happened. B-Mickie held my character up before he got shot, we’re like “what the hell you doing?” He went and made a phone call, so I think all that’s gonna come into play with my character when he gets that fully aware of himself. It’s gonna be crazy.
What can you say fans will be most surprised to see in regard to both Meech and BMF as a whole?
We’re going to be able to have people on the edge of their seats after every episode, and that’s what we want. Randy Huggins and Heather Zuhlke, they’re both amazing writers and they both set out to have every episode like you’re ready to pull your hair out. Every episode is better and better and grittier and grittier. I want everybody to really pay attention and read between the lines. BMF isn’t just about drug dealing, it’s about soul and family. There are a lot of different things you can miss if you’re just watching and not reading and understanding.
New episodes of ‘BMF’ are available on the STARZ app on Fridays at 12:00 am EST and on the STARZ TV channel at 8:00 pm EST.