Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

There’s no charm in the city for B’More Careful

Author Shannon Holmes turns director to bring his street-lit classic to the small screen in B’More Careful. Growing up on the cold, mean, inner-city streets of Baltimore is Netta (Phenomenal Jewel), leader of an all-girl clique called the Pussy Pound. Their mission is to fleece men out of money by any means necessary. The other members of the club include Mimi (Kimia Workman), Rasheeda (Christinia Cartier), and Fila (Deja Stevens).

With no father and a dope fiend for a mother, Netta learned at an early age how to use her beauty and her body to get the things she wanted: money, cars, and jewelry. Chasing the almighty dollar, she meets Black (G Brown), a local drug dealer with a deep-seated hatred for New Yorkers who falls head over heels in love with her. 

As time passes, Black gradually uncovers Netta’s true motives and realizes she is only interested in his wealth. Left with a heart full of malice and a cold demeanor, he seeks to exact the ultimate revenge against her. However, the situation becomes even more complicated as Netta develops a relationship with her rival drug dealer, New York Tone (Chi Ali Griffin), and tensions rise between her and Mimi, the second-in-command of the P-Pounds gang. As the three parties become increasingly entangled in a web of deceit and betrayal, Black’s plans for revenge may have unforeseeable consequences.

I first read “B-More Careful” in 2002 and still remember speeding through the book within three days. At the time, I had dreams of pursuing a career in film. After reading the book, I made my dream cast of who I saw in the roles. I envisioned Baltimore native Jada Pinkett Smith as Netta, the late great Michael Kenneth Williams as Black, and Regina King as Mimi.

Two decades later, the movie finally arrives, and sadly, it’s one of the worst films I’ve seen in 2023. The novel was 223 pages long, but the film version only had a run time of 75 minutes. Fans of the book will notice many crucial elements missing from our characters’ background motivation.

Now, I did consider that Holmes is a first-time director and his budget limitations. However, in the age of crowdfunding, I can’t fathom how he could not secure the capital to film the bulk of the book as a 2 part of the film. 

In 2023, with editing resources available on Fiverr and YouTube tutorials, there is no excuse for this film to look as bad as it does or contain glaring errors. However, I would like to credit the actors who did what they could with the material. I did not expect Oscar-worthy performances, but the three leads brought the required grit and edge to the hood the genre demands. Additionally, despite not having read the book in over twenty years, seeing certain moments on screen brought them back to me.

Fans of the source material will attest to the authenticity of its content and that the drug game is not a glamorous lifestyle with a Hollywood ending. Hopefully, the right people see B’More Careful and reach out to Holmes to properly bring his street-lit classic to the screen. 

Final Grade : D

B’More Careful is available on numerous streaming platforms.

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