Notorious B.I.G. Street-Naming Proposal Comes Under Fire from Community Board
Published Oct 17, 2013A proposal to rename a Brooklyn street after the late Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace) came under fire from the local community board this week, with members calling into question the rapper's illicit lifestyle and lyrical content, among other things.
Earlier this year, a petition started up by LeRoy McCarthy on Change.org yielded more than 3,000 signatures in support of co-naming the corner of St. James Place and Fulton Street in Brooklyn's Clinton Hill neighbourhoood "Christopher Wallace Way" after the rapper, who was a former resident. Despite the online support, board members weren't as receptive to the idea at a discussion on Tuesday (October 15).
DNAinfo New York [via Pitchfork] reports that board member Lucy Koteen "looked up the rapper's history," and what she found led her to disagree with the proposal.
"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."
Another board member reportedly objected to Biggie's misogynistic lyrics.
McCarthy defended the proposal, asking that board members "not hold Wallace's physical appearance nor how he died against him." He added in his defence, "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."
If McCarthy can get a letter of support from Councilwoman Letitia James, his campaign to co-name the area "Christopher Wallace Way" can continue, but the city figure has yet to make a comment on the matter.