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#WeGoBig: Jeffries, Adams honor hip-hop artist in promos for Nets' expensive new jerseys

These well-done Brooklyn Nets promos involving Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Borough President Eric Adams, are telling in a number of ways, some unsaid.

They involve shots of the Brooklyn Bridge, interview snippets, murals of the late Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls), the Barclays Center, a basketball court named for Smalls, and kids playing basketball in some jazzy new jerseys. Oh, and a selective soundtrack.

Surely Jeffries and Adams think they, like the Nets, are honoring the Brooklyn hip-hop icon, while gaining a little buzz and cred for themselves.

They are, but they're also saluting the Nets, and the Nets are no charity. What's unsaid is that the hashtag #WeGoBig, and that jazzed up Brooklyn Nets logo--well, they're selling $80 shorts and $30 ballcaps.

It's notable to see Jeffries, who as Assemblyman had a sort of rope-a-dope position regarding Atlantic Yards, ultimately more positive than negative, thoroughly embrace the Nets, something that this Borough President, as with his predecessor, sees as part of his job description.

The Jeffries video

Says Jeffries: "Brooklyn is an iconic brand that is known internationally, and Biggie has become a tremendous part of the borough's reputation throughout the world. It's incredibly important that the Brooklyn Nets have chosen to honor Biggie's legacy, particularly because where the Barclays Center is located is just a stone's throw away from the corner of Fulton St and St. James, which is of course the location where Biggie began his journey throughout hip-hop history and because of his raw talent and ability and work ethic, he proved to Brooklyn young people, generation after generation, that the impossible is actually possible."
The Adams video

Says Adams: "When you examine in the neighborhoods how we come together as one borough"--an Adams initiative--"everyone is really showing ways to just express their artistic way and how they live their lives as well. I think that, when you reflect on Biggie and what he means, the energy, the spirit and uniqueness of the music, the lyrics, and how this borough has produced so many great artists. And really Biggie represents that. It says a lot when the Nets determine to just stay close to their roots. And when you see a jersey with Biggie Smalls on it, a young child that's practicing right know knows that one day he too could become that big. It's a big borough with big people and big thoughts. That's why we're the center of the universe."
Where Brooklyn at?

And then there's a pretty deft video weaving in the names of the Brooklyn Nets--remember the old ones!--into various arena/Brooklyn contexts, to the selective soundtrack of Biggie's "Where Brooklyn At?" freestyle and his "Hypnotize," both carefully edited to remove the profanity, violence, and NSFW sexual language.
In an NPR piece in 2014, writer/filmmaker dream hampton (a woman) recalled, "I absolutely challenged him, in the studio and in our friendship, on some of the sexism. I would have hoped that he would have outgrown some of that. It was a little cartoonish at times, his misogyny — as was so much of the music at the time. But, yeah, we were young."

One street co-naming in Wallace's honor was resisted by Community Board 2, but is one is now on the way, according to the Brooklyn Paper. "We heard some objections that included denunciations of his lyrics having to do with profanity, misogyny, and violence,” said one committee member, while Council Member Laurie Cumbo, in a letter, wrote, “He was a Brooklyn icon then, and remains one to this day."

He's an icon, that's for sure, ready to be commodified. (Keith Murphy of Vibe, writing last June, observed, "However, as culturally revered as Pac [Tupac Shakur] and B.I.G. have become, their legacies would not be as pristine in today’s world of TMZ, Black Twitter, and the influential Me Too social movement.")

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