A petition organised to get a street corner named after late hip-hop legend The Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, has raised the ire of the residents of Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighbourhood, who object to renaming a street after a convicted criminal.
Earlier this year, fans of the rapper, best known for his hits Juicy and Big Poppa from the 1994 hip-hop classic Ready to Die, first started campaigning to have the artist’s childhood street corner of St. James Place & Fulton Street renamed Christopher Wallace Way, after the rapper’s real name.
However DNAinfo New York says the idea did not inspire enthusiasm in the local community board, when the idea was raised at a recent meeting to discuss the proposal. Board members cited Wallace’s criminal past as the reason for their ire.
Board member Lucy Koteen, who researched the rap icon’s past said her concern was in glorifying Wallace’s criminal exploits and depicting him as a role model to young people, saying:
“He started selling drugs at 12, he was a school dropout at 17, he was arrested for drugs and weapons charges, 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. I don’t see how this guy was a role model and frankly it offends me.”
Following the meeting, petition-founder LeRoy McCarthy said that “board members should not hold Wallace’s physical appearance nor how he died against him.” McCarthy did not comment on the objection to Wallace’s criminal convictions making him unfit to be immortalised in such a way.
Watch: The Notorious B.I.G. Street Corner Freestyle