April 7, 2008
Felicia Pearson–nicknamed Snoop–weighed only three pounds when she was born. She was a crack baby with no parents. Her biological mother and father were both incarcerated at the time of her birth. Just by surviving, she defied all odds.
It’s no surprise, then, that survival became a way of life for this East Baltimore foster kid. She grew up on the streets, slinging drugs with the big boys. She was a girl and a lesbian in the most masculine of worlds, but she says it was never a problem because she was always herself.
On April 27, 1995, when Pearson was 14 years old, there was a fight. It ended with the death of 15-year-old Okia Toomer, who died of a gunshot wound that night. Pearson was the one who pulled the trigger. She was tried as an adult, convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to eight years in Jessup state prison.
Ten years later, at a club in Baltimore, she was approached by Omar, the gay stick-up boy on HBO’s The Wire–actor Michael K. Williams. The rest, as they say, is history. Now “Snoop Pearson” has become a household name to Wire addicts across the country. Wire fans said goodbye to Snoop and the rest of the cast last month when the popular and acclaimed series, dubbed “the best show on television,” came to an end.
Not all reviews have been glowing, though. The Wire‘s last season raised eyebrows from some critics who said creator David Simon allowed season five to “betray [the show’s] own intentions,” violating the very realism that gained HBO’s baby its cult following. Others said that the season, which took a hard look at the media, became a soapbox for Simon, a former Baltimore Sun newspaper reporter.
Yet it can hardly be ignored that with The Wire creators Ed Burns and David Simon have produced something truly groundbreaking in television history. Slate‘s Jacob Weisberg wrote: “[No] other program has done anything remotely like what this one does, namely to portray the social, political, and economic life of an American city with the scope, observational precision, and moral vision of great literature.” Simon sums it up best talking about his “faith in individuals to rebel against rigged systems”–something we see in The Wire time and time again.