Detroit brothers Demetrius and Terry Flenory probably could have risen to take over one of their hometown’s Big-Three auto manufacturers had their organizational genius been productively channeled in the right directions. Instead the brothers are going to spend the rest of their potentially brilliant lives locked behind prison bars as societal pariahs.
The Flenory brothers and their dramatic rise to criminal heights and subsequent fall into prison ignominy is the subject of the Errante Film Productions and Image Entertainment documentary BMF: The Rise & Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire. The documentary, directed by D. Sikorski and screened at the recent UrbanWorld Film Festival in New York, has its Atlanta premiere next Friday evening (Dec. 28th) with a red carpet reception and screening at the downtown Georgia Pacific Auditorium.
Many people bobbed their heads to Miami rapper Rick Ross’ ubiquitous club banging tune, BMF (Blowin’ Money Fast) and then rapped along with the line, “I think I’m Big Meech, Larry Hoover…whipping work…hallelujah,” not even realizing that they were in fact paying homage to two infamous gangsters and the criminal enterprise, BMF — Black Mafia Family — established by those Flenory brothers from Detroit.
Demetrius, AKA “Big Meech”, and Terry,”Southwest T”, put together a criminal enterprise trafficking in cocaine that reached from coast to coast. Terry relocated to Los Angeles and held down the southwest, hence his name, and was a direct connect to the Mexican smugglers who kept the enterprise supplied. Meech posted up in Atlanta and controlled distribution to the rest of the nation.
“At one time,” speculates one of the film’s executive producers Ryan Walker, “BMF was one or two touches away from every kilo of coke in the country.”
While Terry resided in the tony hills surrounding Los Angeles’ famous Mulholland Drive with his family, Meech roamed over Atlanta claiming, at least, four different high-end homes and lived lavishly. It was Big Meech who taught the world how to ‘make it rain’, when he would visit Atlanta’s many strip clubs and create pandemonium by throwing as much as $20,000 in cash into the air for any and all to grab.
Meech rolled mob-deep to Atlanta hotspots like the Velvet Room and Compound with a crew in Rolls-Royces, Murcialogos and Aston-Martins; bought Cristal by the cases and moved with seeming impunity from prosecution.
BMF tentacles penetrated to the very heart of Atlanta, from grimy ‘hood streets, to the rich avenues of Buckhead and even up to and through the corridors of city hall. Then mayor, Shirley Franklin was publicly embarrassed by her own daughter’s association with BMF as she was married to one of the gang’s alleged associates, Tremayne “Kiki” Graham. Graham was convicted of possibly ordering murders even while sequestered in protective custody in the mayor’s Southwest Atlanta home.
With so many layers to this story, BMF: The Rise & Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire could have legitimately ventured off onto any number of interesting tangents, but the filmmakers were disciplined enough to stay focused on telling their story solely from the perspective of the investigation that eventually brought down the Flenory’s criminal empire.
Previously unavailable access to investigators’ files and wiretaps, allows the documentary to demonstrate how law enforcement officers pieced together a viable case against BMF.
At its heart, BMF: The Rise & Fall... is a classic cautionary tale. “If these guys who had it all can be brought down, what hope has the guy on the corner of surviving in this game?” warns Walker.
Movie Premiere Information:
Friday, Devember 28th
The auditorium at the Georgia Pacific Tower
133 Peachtree Street, downtown Atlanta 30303
(corner of Peachtree and John Wesley Dobbs)
Doors open at 6:30
Movie starts at 7:30