Online comments to "BMF: Hip-hop's shadowy empire," the three-part series by Mara Shalhoup that we conclude in this week's issue, have been pretty wild.
A lot are complimentary. "Best series I've seen inda Loaf EVER!" That sort of thing.
Some people talk about how proud they are that the Black Mafia Family was living large in Atlanta.
Other comments claim the articles were inaccurate. Someone who calls himself "F" writes: "It's a shame that you have to slander someone's name and use false statements just to make a 'hot' story. I know 'Meech' personally and not even half of what was stated was true. [He's] one of the most lovin' and nicest people you ever want to meet despite what other people say, so get your story together next time and let my 'big homie' be."
It's been a trip to read the range of reactions. I thought a lot of readers would take us to task for failing to condemn BMF's excesses. But Mara was trying to keep the story objective, so she didn't get into a lot of judgments.
The closest thing to an inaccuracy that we know of in any of the stories involves the spelling of Marque Dixson's nickname. Someone close to him wrote to say Dixson actually spelled his nickname "Baby Bleu." Police documents list it as "Baby Blue." It's spelled "Blue" in this week's article (which was completed before we received that comment). But we want to get the man's name right and, if we can verify that we were wrong, we'll run a correction in next week's issue.
A lot of comments questioned how we sourced the stories. The "Deep Background" files online answer a lot of them. Large portions of the stories were based on official documents, but Mara also worked hard to get sources on all sides to speak with her. Meech's attorney said he didn't want his client to speak with us. Young Jeezy's attorney and publicist didn't return our calls, nor did the head of Gucci Mane's label.
We're going to talk about these issues in a podcast that should be connected to Part III online by the time you read this. Keep the comments coming, though; they're a great way to help us to check our own facts -- and to help readers understand where other readers are coming from.
But I'd also suggest that you view those comments with a grain of salt.
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