50cent’s Escape From Crime

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In a world more real than some want to think, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ has already hit some bad press. The billboards have been taken down in certain areas that are heavily congested with crime and gangs. But overall, kids are going to see this film. As any major marketer knows, Black people have their own way of finding out what’s going on. “Word of Mouth� built the 50s and 60s Black dollar into empowerment, showing that our money is just as good. The same exists in this day and age as Black youths are eager to see 50 Cent star in the story of his life. While some parents and community activists tremble at the idea of guns and violence, the youth of America aren’t necessarily looking to learn a “trade�; for them, this film represents hope and is a form of motivation. It creates a stir in many to ‘get right’ as opposed to lying around and hoping opportunity discovers them. Those who oppose the film should see it. As they will find that it does not glorify crime life but it glorifies the result of getting out of it.

BSN: Some people think you’re living the American dream
50 Cent: Is this the America Dream?

BSN: How was it shooting your life story?
50 Cent: It was a learning experience for me period. I had never been involved in a film project before and it wasn’t until I got the first draft of the screenplay that  I got excited about it and then I didn’t have a clue that it would change two or three times afterwards.

BSN: Are you satisfied with the results?
50 Cent: Absolutely. I feel good about my performance. I tried to do everything possible that would be unexpected.

BSN: What was the most difficult scene for you to do? Was it the shooting scene?
50 Cent: Nah, the shower scene. 

BSN: What was so difficult?
50 Cent: The difficult part of it was me thinking “Am I going too far?�

BSN: Were you cool with being naked?
50 Cent: Yeah I don’t have a problem with it. I went into the film saying that I wasn’t going to limit myself. They gave us these biker shorts and I was uncomfortable with those. They matched your skin complexion until they got wet and then they were darker and Jim was like “Argh that’s not going to work!â€?  And then he pulled me over to the side and said, “Fifty, you think you can take your shorts off?â€? I was like you gotta be kidding me right now, ya now what I mean? And then he goes, “If you do it, everyone else will do it.â€?

BSN: So you did it?
50 Cent: Nah, I'm a see what happens. So I went to the side and he said “Fifty, it’s not going to work. Take your shorts off.� So I took my shorts off and had the towel around me and Terrence looked and he was like, “Alright then.� And he took his off. Then everyone else just followed him.

BSN: Do you think your life story is the exception or the rule for rap artists? I mean is this a portrait of what your average rapper goes through life to make it? Or where they come from?
50 Cent: Absolutely not. My situation was different. I hope everyone isn’t experiencing the same thing. For me, music has been a way out. Actually my son’s birth in the film… well I wasn’t actually incarcerated when he came.  So that’s where the fictional point comes into the play,  It became a priority in my life because I didn’t have only myself as a responsibility I had to change things in order to provide for him so I started writing music fulltime.

BSN: Your grandparents in the film seemed to be a positive force in your life, why did you make the choices you did?
50 Cent: My grandparents are like that, portrayed in the film. They tried to provide for me. My mom, because she wasn’t around physically a lot, she substituted it with financially support. She gave me a lot of nice things. And when she passed, my grandparents tried to cater to me a little bit, but they had eight kids outside of her. And I didn’t want to ask them for things so I asked the people who appeared to have it with no problem and those were all people from my mother’s life. They had nice jewelry; nice cars; etc. And in their eyes, they were doing me a favor to allow me to hustle at such an early age.

BSN: How old were you?
50 Cent: About 12. And they trusted me because I was Sabrina’s boy, my mother’s child. What the film doesn’t show is that I was only able to hustle from 3 -6 when my grandparents thought I was in the after school program because I couldn’t get around them until I got in a fight with my uncle and sent to the basement.

BSN: So you really did go to the basement?
50 Cent: Yeah. So when I started staying in the basement, sometimes they couldn’t tell when I left.  Because I wasn’t up under all of them.

BSN: How do you respond to people who will say this glamorizes the lifestyle?
50 Cent: I just think for a person who assumes that it’s glamorizing the life; it’s obvious that, that person hasn’t experienced anything that they are looking at. At least it will give them the opportunity to see what goes on in other places.  Like Eminem’s 8 mile opened my eyes up to life in a trailer park. That’s the Middle America ghetto. Its equivalent to they’ve made comparisons of my film to 8 Mile because me and Em had success in music prior to going into and making the films and the biggest similarities that they overlook is that neither one of us had good relationships with our fathers. They point to the music instead of the fact that we didn’t have fathers.
BSN: Did you ever meet your father? Because in the film it looks like Bill Duke’s character is your father.
50 Cent: Yeah it looks that way, but I never met my father. And the thing in the mirror is where I’m at now. I found my father in myself. And my grandfather was a father figure to me when I was growing up. So I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by not knowing him and the things he would have been able to help me out with have passed.
BSN: Can you comment on the rumors that if someone goes to a 50 cent movie, they will be afraid because there will be some shooting.
50 Cent: Oh in the movie?

BSN: No at the theater
50 Cent: That they’ll be at the theater? Wow. I don’t believe that. I believe that they might see a lot of kids from Middle America because these are the people who purchase my material. You know what I mean? They stand the chance of running into some college kids, not some gangsters

BSN: Is the Majestic character still alive or was he actually shot and killed?
50 Cent: He’s still alive.

BSN: And you are not afraid of him?
50 Cent: No he’s incarcerated.

BSN: You can learn a lot by observing people and I was observing you while you were waiting for an elevator. I found you to be almost shy; quiet; easy to laugh which totally contradicts your music. Did I meet Curtis and I’m listening to fifty?
50 Cent: Nah. I grew up  being two people. I grew up being my grandmother’s baby and aggressive enough to be able to get by in the environment when I’m in the environment. In the film it showed me amongst my grandparents and being uncomfortable about things but not saying anything about it. Then they show me fighting in the streets. There is a place for everything, you know? I don’t respond to people in a way that will make them uncomfortable.  You know the guy who walks around with his face all screwed up? He gets hurt in my neighborhood. Eventually he intimidates someone to the point where they actually hurt him. If he doesn’t actually hurt someone and go away for it. For me, it has been more effective to smile and then do whatever I have to do to get by at the moment.

BSN: Can you talk about working with Jim? Did you ever think that he wouldn’t understand where you are coming from?
50 Cent: No because before we actually got started, we were in Los Angeles and I spent time talking with Jim and I realized that he understood a lot more than people knew. Jimmy asked me to sit down and talk to him to make sure he was on point. He watched the same movies that I was watching. Any movie that would be a reference to what it was like to live in New York City or the ghetto. He said none of them kinda had a theme that was universal- the actual family life- a family story. So we went towards the actual situations that caused the behavior instead of the actual behavior.

BSN: Do you have any regrets?
50 Cent: I’ve made mistakes in my life. Everyone has made mistakes in life, but I feel like the things you go through make you who they are. I needed the experience of making that mistake to make me who I am right now.

BSN: How was it working with Walter Alza, did you hang out?
50 Cent: We hung out while we were making the film. When he was on set we got a chance to talk to each other.  He’s got a lot of different projects too  A lot of people don’t pay attention to everyone who is in these films and stuff until they get hot hot then you say “Oh that was him!â€? We got a chance to talk and I actually met his daughter. He brought his daughter to the set.

BSN: How many Tattoos do you have?
50 Cent: I don’t know. They are all over the place.  They are all over my back and all over my arms. None on my legs, though.

BSN: When you got shot in the movie, did it really happen that way? Was it a robbery?
50 Cent: No. Actually it was different.  I got shot more like the way when June bug shoots the police officer. I got shot in the back passenger’s side behind the driver’s seat of the car. See how he how he ran up to the car? It was just like that except like I said I was in the back passenger’s seat behind the driver.

How long were you in the hospital?
50 Cent: I was in the hospital for 13 days and released. I stayed in the Pocono’s. It was about 9 months before I was back. A portion of the bullet came out of the back of my gums. They didn’t bother with my tongue because they felt like they would do more nerve damage. One of them started coming back out in the glands. At first I though it was tooth.

BSN: Do you feel that after surviving the shooting you have some sense of immortality?
50 Cent: I’m not immortal.

BSN: I know. But since it happened to you do you think nothing worse can happen?
50 Cent: No. I feel blessed. If you start feeling like it can’t happen…..

BSN: Was it really your grandmother’s voice that caused you to turn your head?
50 Cent: We expanded that. But she actually was in the front yard when it happened. In the garden.

BSN: How are you as a dad?
50 Cent: I think I’m the best!

BSN: How old is he your son?
50 Cent: Nine
BSN: And is he spoiled?
50 Cent: Yeah. I think there aren’t enough black spoiled kids. (laughs)

BSN: Do you feel vulnerable putting your life so out there in terms of your music and now with this film? Or are you just happy that everyone knows what you want them to know?
50 Cent: I’m just happy that people out there get a chance to see it. It’s an opportunity for me to expand my base. You know people don’t see hip hop as am art form. There are so many people who wouldn’t want to see a movie based on my life, but they have heard from so many media outlets pieces of my life and will want them to see more about my life.

BSN: What do you want people to come away with when they see your life story?
50 Cent: I hope at the end of the day they come away with a greater sense of who I am and where I came from and why I made the some of the choices I’ve made.

BSN: Is this the beginning of your acting career? And what kind of roles do you want to play?
50 Cent: I’d do another film if I came across the right screenplay, but because I don’t know exactly what the right screenplay is, I can’t answer the second part of your question.

BSN: So you don’t know what kind of role….
50 Cent: Nah. I have to read the screenplays before I get excited about doing it again.

BSN: In the movie you broke it down to how many hours you have to actually sell just to make minimum wage. Was that your idea to de-glamorize the life?
50 Cent: Absolutely and it’s the honest truth because if you think about it… if you work a 9 to 5, a hustler can make that kind of money in a few hours, but they never develop a credit history. Over time the guy working the 9 to 5 is in a better position financially because the guy out there doing the wrong thing, even if he makes more money, he ends up spending it on lawyer’s fees and bail and what not.

BSN: Do you wish your mom could see what has happened to you right now?
50 Cent: I would trade everything I have right now for my mother and that relationship.

Copyright © 2005 Tonisha Johnson


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