Notorious B.I.G., whose real name is Christopher Wallace, left, gestures as he and producer Sean “Puffy” Combs leave a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles late Saturday evening, March 8, 1997, shortly before Wallace was shot to death.(eurweb.com)
LeRoy McCarthy, a Brooklyn resident, has collected 4,000 signatures in an online petition to have the corner of Fulton Street and St. James Place in Brooklyn, named “Christopher Wallace Way” for the late rapper also known as Biggie Smalls and the Notorious B.I.G., but opponents say Biggie is not a good role model.
Wallace was born in Brooklyn to Jamaican parents and raised by his single mother at 226 St. James Place in Clinton Hill.
He went on to become an award-winning rapper and was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997 at age 24.
The Clinton Hill Community board members have objected to naming a corner for the late rapper because, according to some, he was a criminal, a misogynist — and too fat to be honored. He weighed nearly 400 pounds.
It would come as a surprise to Biggie Smalls that the brownstones in the neighborhood where he was raised and which was the inspiration for his music are now selling for over of $4 million and that there would be an effort to name a corner of his neighborhood in his honor.
Perhaps he would not be surprised that the "new" residents of his neighborhood would object to the street corner being named for him because, among other reasons, they find Mr. Wallace was too corpulent to be held up as a role model.
According to DNAInfo.com, one resident, Lucy Koteen told community board members at a meeting:
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...I don’t see how this guy was a role model, and frankly it offends me.
Whether Biggy Smalls gets his street depends on Councilwoman Letitia James, who is involved in an election for public advocate which she is expected to win in November, writing a letter of support to the Council which approves all street names.
Leroy McCarthy keeps advocating for renaming the streetcorner for Biggy Smalls because he notes: “Coming from modest beginnings the story of Christopher Wallace tells the story of a boy to a man accomplishing greatness, using words as his tools.”