Despite the hip-hop legacy he left behind, it seems Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G., is not worthy of having a street corner named after him. At least, not according to members of a Brooklyn community board.
According to DNAinfo New York, during a meeting on Tuesday night, committee members pointed to the rapper’s derogatory language, criminal background, and physical appearance as reasons why a corner in the Clinton Hill neighborhood where Wallace once lived should not bear his name.
“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,” committee member Lucy Koteen stated. “I don’t see how this guy was a role model and frankly it offends me.” Yet another member, Kenn Lowy, pointed to the rapper’s use of misogynistic lyrics in his music.
Following the meeting, LeRoy McCarthy, the man who first initiated the petition for the street naming, remarked that “board members should not hold Wallace’s physical appearance nor how he died against him.” He insisted, “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.”
In order to stave the community board’s rejection of the petition, McCarthy will need a letter of support from local Councilwoman Letitia James, who has not yet weighed in on the issue.