See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Reprazent WHAT? 

No bones about it – Bonz Malone is the real thing. His "Tuph Street" column is one of Vibe magazine’s most popular. He co-wrote Slam, played a bit part in Life and now appears in Marc Levin’s Whiteboys. His life has taken a 180-degree turn from the gangbanging and hanging he used to do. Without rhymin’ or DJing (he is a graffiti artist), Malone’s life is hip-hop culture embodied, and now delivered to the silver screen.

Metro Times: What’s the strongest statement made in Whiteboys?

Bonz Malone: We like to challenge the status quo. That’s why we did this. People confuse being cool with being black. CB4 (the Chris Rock rap spoof) tried to say that. Look at where Chris Rock is now. He makes fun of all the shit that does not make sense. He doesn’t stop at white. He doesn’t stop at black. He attacks it all on the basis of what is bullshit and what is real.

MT: Does acting fulfill you in a different way from writing?

Malone: It helps me to show the whole world that the things I said on page, I’m the same way on stage.

MT: Do hip-hop artists realize that kids like the one portrayed by Danny Hoch (star of Whiteboys) really exist?

Malone: There has to be a responsibility for other artists to see what the hell you are promoting. ’Cause that selfish bullshit is a mirror that other kids, from the suburbs to Japan to Spain, they’re mimicking what they see. Because they have nothing else to fucking benchmark that shit! So they feel like, "To be a rapper, this is what I have to be. I have to talk about myself in a very flamboyant way and talk about what I would do to the competition, to the police, to anybody who does not like what I have to say."

MT: When considering a script, do you seek substance similar to the social consciousness in your writing?

Malone: Yeah, definitely. I would not portray something that I don’t advocate in my own day-to-day life. Like, I wouldn’t do a film with a gun in my hand. That cuts me out of a lot of box office scripts. I don’t want my mom to see something that she’s particularly not proud of. She can handle the fact that I curse, that I smoke. I’m from Tuph Street! But to run around with a gun? I don’t want kids to look at me that way.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit