I wasn’t already familiar, but from the little research I did, I learned that the Black Mafia Family (BMF), was a drug cartel that was created in Detroit, Michigan in the late 1980s, by DemetriusBig Meech” and Terry Flenory. Over the following decade or so, their organization grew into a hugely successful nationwide enterprise.

Soon after, they began to use their financial gains to branch out into other businesses, creating a hip-hop music label called BMF Entertainment, promoting the careers of a few artists, some fairly well known, like Young Jeezy.

But the castle they built all came crashing down in the mid-2000s, when they were busted, indicted and convicted on charges of running a notorious criminal enterprise that allegedly grossed over $270 million during the period of its existence. Both brothers were sentenced to prison for 30 years to life. Other members of their organization would also face jail sentences.

That’s the shortened version of their story.

Aer long version is currently being developed for the big screen by Program Pictures, the production company behind Antoine Fuqua’s Tupac Shakur biopic. A screenplay is currently being written with shooting expected to begin as early as next year.

Flenory and his brother Terry built their organization beginning in the 1980s, and gave birth and romanticized the extravagant, flamboyant lifestyle that hip-hop is known for today, taking their cues from the movie Scarface… We have a passion and enthusiasm in bringing [their story] to the big screen… We’re working closely with Meech and Tammy Cowins to make sure every aspect of the story is done correctly.” a rep for Program Pictures says.

If you haven’t been keeping count, this makes the 3rd feature film project announced this year that are based on real-life stories of African American “organized” crime.

In February, Nick Cassavetes (son of indie film trailblazer John Cassavetes) signed on to direct a biopic about notorious 1980s drug dealer Rick Ross, in a film that will reportedly explore Ross’s ingenious and complex scheme of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles during the early 80s, the height of his success, moving 100 kilograms of cocaine daily, which was distributed across the country – product that he claims was supplied by Nicaraguan rebels/Contras.

And also in February, Kimberly Pierce, probably best known for her feature film debut, the Oscar-winning Boys Don’t Cry (for Hilary Swank), signed up to direct a film based on the real-life story of a Crips gang member, who became a paid FBI informant, after becoming disillusioned by all the death and destruction that surrounded him. The “snitch’s” actions led to several police drug and weapons busts, which were tied to murders, shaking up the gang scene enough that it caused gang leaders to issue an official “kill all snitches” order, which, naturally, put the informant’s life in immediate danger.

The film, titled The Knife, is being packaged by uber-producer Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment (usually a plus), for Universal Pictures.

I found the below History Channel profile of the Black Mafia Family, on its Ganglang series; this is just part 1. You can find the rest on YouTube. And underneath, you’ll find the Black Mafia Family’s family tree…