Meet Voletta Wallace, the remarkable, courageous mother of legendary rapper The Notorious B.I.G. See photos, video and a biography here.
Voletta Wallace, a retired teacher, is the producer of ‘Notorious’ a biopic of her son who was killed on March 9, 1997 when he was only 24 and at the height of his music career; 15 days before his ironically titled double-disc album ‘Life After Death,’ was released and topped the charts in the U.S.
As a biography, Voletta Wallace was born in Trelawny, Jamaica, February 3, 1953, so her age is 58. She emigrated to New York City where she met Selwyn, her first love who would became the father of her son. He left her while she was still pregnant. On May 21, 1972, she gave birth to the son she named Christopher Wallace who would grow up and become the pioneering rapper and hip hop icon. As a single mother, she raised him in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. She was supportive of his music career and even appeared in one of his music videos, attired in mink and jewels.
In the years since his untimely death in 1997, Voletta Wallace has been in the public spotlight and a familiar figure in the hip hop world. She manages her son’s estate and legacy and is the founder of The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation whose mission is to bring educational opportunities underprivileged children in the inner city. Her courage and strength enabled her to survive two bouts with breast cancer.
In 2005 Simon & Schuster published her memoir, “Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G.,” with co-author Tremell McKenzie and a foreword by R&B singer Faith Evans, her son’s widow.
As a producer of the movie, ‘Notorious,’ she was involved in all details of the production and was on the set every day. In an interview she has expressed full support and approval of the movie, saying, “The movie was terrific, made me angry, made me sad.” She has singled out Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard, who portrays her son in the movie for particular praise, recounting the first time she met him.
The first day I saw Jamal in person, I was in a corner [in the audition room] and I whispered ‘That’s my son, there.’ He walked in with a voice like Christopher. And I had goosebumps just looking at him. He’s so appreciative, he’s so humble. He thanked me for me giving him the chance. He never knew he was giving me something. He thanked me for giving him the chance to, according to him, play the greatest rapper in the world.
The movie was directed by George Tillman, (”Soul Food” and “Men of Honor”) and written by Reggie Rock Bythewood (”Get on the Bus,” “Biker Boyz”) and produced by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Biggie’s former managers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts. Golden Globe winning actress Angela Bassett plays Voletta Wallace in the movie, and in interviews has said that she is fascinating, for “her strength, her vulnerability, her ability to still laugh every day.”
More photos and a video of Voletta Wallace are below.