Inspired by the real-life empire, Black Mafia Family built by the Detroit-born Flenory brothers, Starz’s BMF returns for its sophomore season. Set in Detroit in the 1980s, the highly-rated drama series follows the rise and fall of Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory (Demetrius “Meech” Flenory Jr.) and Terry “Southwest Tee” Flenory (Da’Vinchi).
At the end of the first season, Terry walked away from BMF to pursue a legitimate car-service business with his father, Charles (Russell Hornsby). However, interest in Markisha Taylor (Alani “La La” Anthony), the wife of an infamous drug dealer, may push Terry back toward the streets.
Slighted by his brother’s abandonment, Season 2 will showcase Meech pressing forward without Terry while facing the increasing dangers of the business. Meech’s ambitions will also see him ally with Goldie (Oscar-winner Mo’Nique), a sophisticated Atlanta strip club owner.
Moreover, continued financial strain and concern for their sons’ well-being will lead to cracks in Charles and Lucille’s (Michole Briana White) marriage.
Ahead of the BMF season 2 premiere, Shadow and Act spoke with Mo’Nique, Demetrius “Meech” Flenory Jr., Da’Vinchi and La La Anthony about the explosive new season, the incredible ’80s fashion, and BMF’s legacy.
“I’m a perfectionist like my dad,” Flenory Jr. says. “I want to get better and better every episode and every time I do a scene. So this season, Season 2, has to be bigger and better. Everything has to elevate. I can’t wait for people to see this season because it has way more dialogue and action. It’s deeper into the story, and people see my dad — more of himself. Season 1 was a beginning, and now we are getting into the deep part of the story.”
Before the series was ever conceived, Mo’Nique heard whispers about the Flenory brothers and their influence. “Years ago, when we were having FreakNik in Atlanta, I heard about these cats being down here from Detroit,” the Academy Award winner recalls. “That was it. That’s all. It was these big cats down in Atlanta from Detroit. That was all I heard. So when 50 [Cent] called me about it, I started doing my research and homework. And I’m like, OK, now I understand. Now I understand who these brothers really are.”
Mo’Nique’s character Goldie is still very much shrouded in secrecy. However, she did give us a hit about what we could expect when the strip club owner steps onto the scene.
“I know Goldie, you know Goldie, our community knows Goldie,” she hints. “[Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson] explained to me who she was and then said that Randy [Huggins] and I would be able to really shape Goldie. But Goldie is that character where the community loves her. But others would think that she’s a detriment to the community, but she takes care of her community through means that some may not agree with.”
When it came to fleshing out the character, the Almost Christmas actress wanted to start with Goldie’s hair and wardrobe. “If you notice, Goldie has gray hair because she’s this older woman,” Mo’Nique explains. “I was really excited about the hair. The clothes, the wardrobe stylist on the set, actually came up with that. And, of course, we tried a lot of things on, but I appreciated that they kept her classy. They kept her a mature woman.”
In addition to Goldie, one of the most intriguing aspects of Season 2 is the dynamic between Terry and Markisha. “Terry told me how much he was really in love with Markisha, so that bond is legit,” Da’Vinchi says. “They were really this force, and she was putting him on game, and there was something about her that he just really loved. So that’s definitely a real thing. And even to this day, they still have a great relationship. Years later, they have a great bond with each other in real life.”
Like Goldie, Markisha is also draped in the most incredible ’80s fashion. From fringe jean jackets to massive glasses and gold bamboo earrings. “It’s just hair, makeup, and clothes can put you in deeper into a character, can put you deeper into a time, and it just makes it more fun,” Anthony says. “There’s nothing about it that makes you feel like yourself. So it’s great because you’re really in character mode. The hair, makeup, and clothing were so great that it gives the audience something else to look forward to besides the storylines, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I love her hair. I love that jacket.’ There were things I wanted to take with me that would still be fire today to wear and stuff like that. So that part of it is really, really fun.”
As the series reveals more about who the Flenorys are and were Flenory Jr. felt closer to his namesake and his family history.
“My dad always talked to me about his life, but it was never about his childhood,” the actor says. “Now that I had to play him, he had to tell me about his childhood, and I had to learn about everything. [My dad and Terry] had to grow up at a very young age. My dad was 17 when he started taking care of his whole family, living in the murder capital of the world. It wasn’t a lot of resources. A regular kid can go to college and go to school and get a good job. All it was was drug-infested communities where he was at. So it is crazy learning about how he grew up. He told me he and his brother shared clothes and had holes in their shoes when they went to school. It used to be almost below zero, snowing outside — inhumane conditions. He didn’t even want to go to school sometimes. So that’s what gave him that drive to do what he went on to do. He had to use the resources in front of him to take his family out of poverty.”
With such a complex story that intersects a family, the streets of Detroit, and the larger world around them, Flenory Jr. hopes that the series will run at least eight to 10 seasons. “I hope the viewers can read between the lines and understand the BMF business,” he says. “It has a soul, and it’s about family. It doesn’t matter what race you are; you can still watch BMF and understand the meaning. I hope people see the docu-series [The BMF Documentary: Blowing Money Fast] because it makes them understand the show more. Once people understand the purpose of Meech and Terry and why they did what they did, how many lives and people they touched, they’ll understand it’s not just selling drugs.”
BMF Season 2 will debut Friday, Jan. 6, on Starz.
Watch the interviews below: