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Saying ‘No’ to Notorious…For Right Now…

I simply don’t want to relive it.  In 1997, when B.I.G. was murdered, we were around the same age; he was already 24,  I had about four months from turning 24.  During that time, I was still bewildered about Tupac ‘s death when I had to cope with another blow; watching the breaking news on MTV about Big Poppa.

Those were some dark days for Hip Hop.  After its obscure but meteoric rise during the 80s (“remember Rappin’ Duke, duh ha duh ha, you never thought that hip hop would take it this far”) to the shiny, big balla days of the 90s (“50 inch screen, money green leather sofa, got two rides–a limousine with a chauffeur”), Hip Hop was on the path of evolution.  It was supposed to get stronger and overcome its demons; standing firm as a triumphant example of courage and resilience.

Ok, I know that was a bit deep, but give me that space and feel me on this.  While I understand that many will see the film and I applaud that, this moviegoer will pass on it…hopefully until it comes out on Pay Per View.  Then, I will be able to sit in my hearth room, blast the bangers that B.I.G cut in surround sound, watch the story, and feel unashamed at the connection that I will undoubtedly make with the film.  I can even cry if I want to.

At the same time, I  don’t think I want to sit in a theater with a bunch of youngsters who are so far removed from the passion that Hip Hop heads, like me, used to have.   Their potential for outright ignorance and light hearted, disconnected approach to the story will perhaps vex me.  No doubt,  there will be some thirty-somethings in the audience, recalling those days and trying to piece together some kind of explanation for why he was so viciously taken from the world.   From what I’ve gathered, the movie is not going to allude to any specifics regarding his killing, which is still unsolved–nearly 12 years later.  Instead, it will cover his life—and demonstrate, just as his mother Ms. Voletta Wallace has been saying all along, that B.I.G, faults and all, was just a good kid with a dream.

See, that’s why I will pass on seeing it at the theaters.  Unlike many, I have difficulty, at times, separating myself from the human element of things.  While many will look at the film as a tribute to his life, I will probably harp on the fact that he was only 24 when he died–too tragically young.  His babies (oldest son Christopher Jr. plays his father as a child in the movie) have to grow up without him and his mother had to bury her only child–everything pertaining to his rise from being a crack dealer to a worldwide rap superstar seemingly pales in comparison to those aspects.  This is not about a happy ending….but it is about overcoming.  Considering the scope of his life, did B.I.G. overcome?  Unfortunately, the answer, in my opinion, is no.   I will be more than happy to consider other takes on this matter, but knowing that prohibits me from reclining in movie theater seats to watch it.

If you don’t mind, I’ll stick to the music.

“…and if you don’t know….now you know…”


About Chandra Kamaria

Chandra Kamaria is a playwright, essayist, culture maven, educator, entrepreneur, and activist. To learn more, visit


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