The rapper-turned-actor-turned-producer born Curtis Jackson co-created and co-starred in the cable network’s long-running drama Power, which aired for five highly successful seasons from 2014-2020 and is in the midst of launching four different Power Book spinoffs.
And this week Jackson premieres Black Mafia Family (BMF), a series he developed and executive produced about Demetrius “Big Meech” (Demetrius Flenory Jr., playing his father) and Terry “Southwest T” Flenory (Da'Vinchi), real-life brothers who launched a massive drug-trafficking (and eventual hip-hop promoting) empire out of Detroit in the late-1980s.
“Them being brothers, it allowed me to focus on the family drama and to tell the story of the innocence of how they got caught… at 15, that young age, where you wouldn't even technically be responsible for your actions at that point because you're a minor,” Jackson tells Yahoo Entertainment during a recent virtual interview (watch above). “You'll find a way to be sympathetic to the scenario when you see the details of it. You see human nature, you see how they make those decisions, how they end up on that path.”
Though Jackson has launched empires on his own at this point, from his G-Unit rap label to Starz productions to about 50 other business ventures (and dating back to his early life as a drug dealer), he won’t compare himself to the infamous BMF.
“I think anyone who was had encounters with that lifestyle can identify with this entry level story, entry level positioning, but the levels that they grew to in that business… they went past my board,” he says.
BMF is also notable for marking the acting return of Eminem, 50 Cent’s longtime friend and musical collaborator. Save for some voice work and cameos in films like Funny People and The Interview, Eminem has barely acted since his acclaimed lead role in the semi-autobiographical 2002 film 8 Mile. In BMF, he plays “White Boy Rick” in an episode Jackson directs.
“When he heard I was directing it, he was like, ‘Yeah, I'll do it,’” says Jackson, who also directed an episode of Power in 2019. “This guy shows up at every stage of my career and in my life, shows up for me at the point that I just need him to show up… I don't think it would have not worked if [he] didn't come and be a part of it. But he showed up and it's become one of the biggest highlights of me directing for the second time.
“And that's just my guy. I don't care what he did… If he hit somebody with a bus, I would be saying, ‘No, he didn't do it… Who saw the bus? Because someone else could have been driving the bus.’”
Black Mafia Family is currently streaming on Starz.
Watch the trailer:
— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Valerie Volpacchio