Who are the 'Black Mafia Family' on the show BMF?

·5 min read
Photo credit: Wilford Harewood - Starz
Photo credit: Wilford Harewood - Starz

BMF is the latest series from executive producer Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, and writer and executive producer Randy Huggins to hit Starz, on Sunday (September 26).

The show is inspired by the true story of brothers Demetrius Flenory aka 'Big Meech' and Terry Flenory aka 'Southwest T', who came up from the streets of Detroit to form America's most notable drug distribution network.

The show explores the beginnings of their drug empire as well as the difficulties they faced with rival gangs and family battles.

Here's a look at the Flenory family members in Starz's BMF and who portrays them:

Demetrius 'Big Meech' Flenory

Photo credit: Starz - Getty Images
Photo credit: Starz - Getty Images

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Played by his younger son Demetrius Flenory Jr, Demetrius 'Big Meech' Flenory built up and ran the Black Mafia Family drug empire alongside his brother Terry Flenory during the late '80s and up until their arrest in 2005. The brothers started out on the streets of Detroit, dealing cocaine while in high school – which is explored in this season.

In 2000, the duo started record label BMF Entertainment and launched the career of artist Bleu DaVinci, and were known to associate with and serve as promoters to high-profile hip-hop artists such as Trina, Young Jeezy and Fabolous.

According to the US Department of Justice: "At its peak during 2003-2004, the BMF was moving hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into Atlanta, Detroit, and other distribution hubs every month. The drugs would arrive in vehicles – often limousines – with secret compartments or 'traps'. These same trap vehicles would then be filled with cash (the proceeds from drug sales) to be sent back to the Mexican sources of supply."

Terry 'Southwest T' Flenory

Photo credit: Instagram/southwest263/Starz
Photo credit: Instagram/southwest263/Starz

Grown-ish's Da' Vinchi portrays Big Meech’s younger brother Terry 'Southwest T' Flenory. By 2000, the Flenory brothers had established a large empire overseeing multi-kilogram cocaine distribution across America, but in 2001, after a division between the brothers Terry relocated to Los Angeles to run his own operation.

All of that came crashing down when The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) arrested Big Meech and Southwest T in 2005 for running the huge, multi-state cocaine ring. A string of charges followed including running a continuing criminal enterprise, possession of more than 500kg of cocaine with intent to distribute, another two counts of of intent to distribute more than 5kg of cocaine, and another charge of conspiracy for the same. A two-year federal investigation of the BMF organisation estimated that its nationwide membership included over 500 people.

In 2007, Big Meech and his brother Terry pleaded guilty to running a continuing criminal enterprise and were both sentenced to 30 years in 2008.

Terry was released into house arrest in early May 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Meech remains in jail but after the United States Sentencing Guidelines made amendments 782 and 788 to revise all drug offences that occurred before November 2014, Meech's sentence was reduced and he is set for an early release in 2028.

Charles Flenory

Photo credit: steelguitarforum/Starz
Photo credit: steelguitarforum/Starz

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Head of the family Charles Flenory was born in 1948 in Cleveland, Ohio and fathered three children with his wife Lucille Flenory, Demetrius, Terry, and Nicole Flenory.

A musician, Flenory played the guitar and the steel guitar for the House of God, Keith Dominion in Detroit, Michigan. In 1963, he established Gospel Sounds Record Corporation and in later years wrote the 1997 Campbell Brothers hit single Jump for Joy.

Actor Russell Hornsby, who plays Charles on the show, told Digital Spy that he was inspired "by the story, and by the character of Charles Flenory", and that he "didn’t want to portray the character as a victim", but that he is a "hard-working, strong, blue-collared man, who is a musician and who's also a man of deep faith".

Lucille Flenory

Photo credit: Instagram/southwest263/Starz
Photo credit: Instagram/southwest263/Starz

Related: BMF's Russell Hornsby explains how he prepared for the role

Michole Briana White plays matriarch Lucille Flenory, Demetrius, Terry and Nicole's strong-willed and loving mother to her children.

Russell Hornsby described how he met with Lucille in advance of his role.

"So in preparation I had an opportunity to speak with Lucille Flenory, who is the mother of the boys, and get a real idea of what their life was like, what their marriage was like, and what their relationship was like with the kids as they were trying to raise them."

He added, "I like to think of myself as a truth teller, and so I say, you can't lie in life, and tell the truth on stage. So, I try to be honest about what my thoughts are about that time, about who those people were, and my goal is to honour them. Not to comment on who they are, but to honour them."

Speaking on Atlanta's V103's radio station’s Frank and Wanda Morning Show back in 2010, regarding the Rick Ross song 'BMF' (Blowin' Money Fast), Ms Flenory said that she had no qualms with the hit single, and that it was "a way of acknowledging Meech and keeping his name out there. Not making him one of the forgotten souls".

Nicole Flenory

Laila Pruitt plays a young Nicole Flenory on the show, the youngest child of the Flenory family.

Who else is on the show?

Photo credit: Wilford Harewood - Starz
Photo credit: Wilford Harewood - Starz

Blue Story's Eric Kofi-Abrefa also stars on the show as main antagonist Lamar, while hip-hop artist Arkeisha 'Kash Doll' Knight will play Demetrius' former lover Monique.

Eminem will make an appearance as Richard Wershe Jr aka White Boy Rick, a teenage FBI informant who spent almost 30 years in prison for a drug offence he committed when he was 17.

Snoop Dogg also makes a regular appearance as the family's spiritual advisor Pastor Swift, and familiar faces including Power's Lala Anthony, The Wire's Wood Harris and The First Purge's Steve Harris also star in the series.

BMF premieres worldwide tonight at 9pm ET/PT Sunday, September 26 on Starz in the US and at 4am GMT Sunday, September 26 on Starzplay, available through Amazon Prime Video, in the UK. The show will then air weekly at 8pm ET/PT every Sunday on Starz in the US, and 3am GMT every Sunday on Starzplay, in the UK.

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