Touré Expresses Concern About Will Smith’s Nicky Barnes Biopic Idolizing Gangsta Drug Dealers

“This description makes Nicky Barnes sound like a Civil Rights leader.”

(AllHipHop News) At the moment, Hollywood seems to be infatuated with historical dramas covering African American crime bosses. FX’s Snowfall series tells the fictionalized story of the rise of crack cocaine in 1980s-era Los Angeles, a plot reminiscent of convicted drug trafficker “Freeway” Rick Ross’ real life.

The Forest Whitaker-led Godfather of Harlem show about mobster Bumpy Johnson is headed to EPIX on September 29. In addition, news broke this week that Will Smith is set to star as New York City drug lord Leroy “Nicky” Barnes in the forthcoming Netflix biopic The Council. The streaming service’s Strong Black Lead Twitter account announced the movie.

“EXCITING NEWS Y’ALL! Will Smith is set to produce and star as Nicky Barnes in ‘THE COUNCIL’ – the never-before-told story of the Harlem-based crime syndicate that set out to create Black equity and self-sufficiency during the 1970s and early 80s,” read Strong Black Lead’s tweet.

Veteran journalist Touré quoted that post about The Council with the response, “This description makes Nicky Barnes sound like a Civil Rights leader.” The former Rolling Stone and Vibe contributor also addressed the fact that the heroin kingpin once known as “Mr. Untouchable” helped the government indict 44 of his former cohorts.

“Is the biggest issue with Nicky Barnes really that he became a witness for the state and got several drug dealers convicted or is it that he was an extraordinarily successful drug dealer whose work helped destroy thousands of Black lives?” tweeted Touré.

He added, “I can enjoy a good film about a gangsta drug dealer as much as anyone but I think we’re idolizing the gangsta drug dealer a bit too much when we’re angrier about them snitching (ie, being disloyal to criminals) than about poisoning their community (ie, poisoning their people).”