It only took two decades, but Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace has finally been memorialized by the city that bore him.
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced Wednesday that it would rededicate Crispus Attucks Playground, between Classon Avenue and Fulton Street in Brooklyn, in honor of the late rapper.
— Chris Wallace Way BK (@CWWayBK) July 30, 2017
The memorial comes more than four years after Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, LeRoy McCarthy, petitioned members of the local community board to co-name the intersection, between St. James Place and Fulton Street, “Christopher Wallace Way,” in honor of the location where the rap icon first established his roots. However, the plan was eventually shot down by members of the community, who were unable to see past the artist’s criminal record.
Now, more than 20 years since the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed by an unknown assailant, it appears his hometown is finally ready to acknowledge his accomplishments. The effort was led by New York City Councilman Robert Cornegy, who had orchestrated the park’s renaming as a promise to Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace.
“Great day for Bed Stuy Brooklyn,” Cornegy tweeted following the ceremony. “As they say, it is done!”
The new basketball courts come as part of $2.5 million renovations by NYC Parks, which included aesthetic upgrades, new equipment, improved handball courts and a redone safety surface.
During the unveiling/ribbon-cutting ceremony, Cornegy stressed how the rapper’s mother has continued to work to improve her son’s legacy, creating the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation.
“[Voletta Wallace] changed the acronym for B.I.G. to stand for ‘Books Instead of Guns,'” Cornegy told The Daily News. “We’re in the process of redoing libraries providing books for young kids in school and that was her commitment.”
The Crispus Attucks Playground has also played host to the annual Dream B.I.G. Youth Basketball Tournament for the past six years.
“What’s important is that the park is the first place we go to as kids,” music producer / DJ Ralph McDaniels says in a live video of the unveiling. “For a young person that will be coming up, 9-10 years old… and then he sees B.I.G.’s name on it, he may not even know who B.I.G. is, but he could learn about the legacy. Not just of B.I.G. but of Hip-Hop.”
WATCH: NYC PARKS HONORS CHRISTOPHER “BIGGIE SMALLS” WALLACE
— NYC Parks (@NYCParks) August 2, 2017