50 Cent joins cast of Starz's 'BMF' at Royal Oak premiere

The new series, executive produced by 50 Cent, centers on the creation of the notorious Detroit drug trafficking and money laundering organization.

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

50 Cent joined the cast of Starz's "BMF" for an invite-only screening of the new Detroit-set series' first episode Sunday night at Royal Oak's Emagine Theatre. 

Joining 50, who executive produced the series, were stars Demetrius 'Lil Meech' Flenory, Da'Vinchi, Russell Hornsby, Michole Briana White, Detroit rapper Kash Doll and showrunner Randy Huggins.

Executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson says a few words before the screening.

The series, which premiered Sunday night on Starz, follows the Flenory brothers of Southwest Detroit — Demetrius 'Big Meech' Flenory and Terry 'Southwest T' Flenory — and the creation of the Black Mafia Family, the notorious Detroit-based drug trafficking and money laundering organization which was formed in Southwest Detroit in the 1980s. The crime network eventually spread to 11 states and reaped more than $270 million in profits.

Several hundred invited guests attended the private premiere, which played on three screens at the theater. 

Executive producer Curtis "50 Cent"  Jackson says a few words before the premiere the first episode at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak in front of live audience on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The show is about the Flenory brothers of Southwest Detroit who ran a multi-state drug trafficking and money laundering ring in the 1980s.

50 Cent addressed the audience inside the Emagine's biggest theater prior to the start of the show, and he told the crowd about the long process of bringing the series to fruition.  

"This didn't happen overnight, this took us some time to get it right," 50 said, relaying the story of how he enrolled Flenory in acting classes in Los Angeles so he could take on the role of his father, Demetrius 'Big Meech' Flenory. The elder Meech is currently serving a 30-year sentence in an Oregon prison, and is scheduled to be released in 2028. 

50 acknowledged that he took a chance on the younger Flenory, and he's pleased it paid off.  

"Don't expect to see that again," 50 said. "That was a gamble; Starz definitely wouldn't have reimbursed me if it didn't work." 

Demetrius Flenory Jr., who plays the character based on his father Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory sits waits for the screening to begin at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak.

He then introduced an excited Huggins to the crowd, who called Sunday "the biggest day of my life." 

Huggins, who hails from Detroit, shouted out his alma maters St. Martin de Porres High School and Grambling State University, as well as Eight Mile and southwest Detroit. 

"I did this project for us," Huggins said. "This story is about Meech and Terry, but it's also about Detroit and I really do hope that y'all feel the love because if y'all do, I don't give a (expletive) what the world say." 

Scattered chants of "Free Big Meech" broke out in the crowd as the episode was about to start. 

Black Mafia Family (BMF) Executive producers (from left) Randy Huggins and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and lead actor Demetrius Flenory Jr. answer questions after a screening of the first episode of the new Starz television series at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak in front of live audience on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. The show is about the Flenory brothers of Southwest Detroit who ran a multi-state drug trafficking and money laundering ring in the 1980s.

At the end of the episode, WJLB-FM's (97.9) Bushman led 50 and the cast in a lively and spirited 40-minute question-and-answer session. 

50 and Huggins told stories about working with Snoop Dogg and Eminem on the show — Snoop plays a pastor, Em makes a cameo as Richard 'White Boy Rick' Wershe Jr. — and other on-set tales. 

Hornsby was nearly moved to tears by the local audience.

"I didn't realize how much it would affect me to be here in Detroit," said the "Hate U Give" star, who plays the Flenory brothers' father in the show. He said the show stresses the importance of family. "It's important to show America, to show our culture and our people, that family does exist, that there are husbands and wives who are together, there are mothers and fathers who believe in raising their kids... it's important for America and society to know that we are not clichés, we are not stereotypes, but we are living, breathing human beings." 

"BMF" was filmed earlier this year with Atlanta standing in for Detroit, although the crew did shoot for about five days in the Motor City.  

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama