Zaire Paige Not Only Played a Movie Killer, He Became One in Real Life.

This is how he squandered his big chance to go straight.

Some knew Paige had gang affiliations. "He was open and honest about it," says Fuqua, who added that the young man had talked with him about wanting to get out of the street life.

Paige says Wesley Snipes advised him to vote, and Michael Kenneth Williams, who played the character "Omar" on The Wire, told him that it was important, as a young black actor, to keep from being pigeonholed into gangster roles.

Ethan Hawke remembers Paige, too, as a talented young man who led a very tough life. "He had five bullet wounds on his body," he tells the Voice.

A jury concluded that Paige and Robert Crawford, seen on the left in this music video, chased their victim into the De Lux Natural Hair Gallery.
Smack Tube
A jury concluded that Paige and Robert Crawford, seen on the left in this music video, chased their victim into the De Lux Natural Hair Gallery.
Monday, Paige was sentenced to four consecutive life terms. He'll be eligible for parole in 107 years.
C.S. Muncy
Monday, Paige was sentenced to four consecutive life terms. He'll be eligible for parole in 107 years.

During the course of the filming, Paige had a court date coming up—the case resulted in a misdemeanor possession conviction—and it became an issue for Fuqua, since it threatened the young man's ability to keep shooting the film. Johnson says the producers wrote letters in support of Paige. Older actors, like Cheadle, sat with him in his trailer and counseled him to make the court date. The court appearance was such a frequent topic of discussion that Cheadle inserted it into the storyline of the film. In an early scene in a parking lot, Cheadle's undercover cop throws his arm around Man Man and says, "You know you're going to make that court date, right?"

"It was really sincere," says Johnson. "He was sincerely asking him to make it." Johnson adds that the thought of losing his chance to be in the film consumed Paige that summer. "He was walking on eggshells. He was like, 'Dang, what a fine time to be in trouble! How much bad energy did I put into the damn world, to be able to be in the movie of a lifetime. . . . How much bad luck does one dude have?' "

If the shooting of Brooklyn's Finest was the biggest thing to have happened in Paige's life, it was also remarkable for Brownsville itself. Lisa Kenna, the fierce and motherly tenants' association president of the Van Dyke Houses, recalls seeing elderly people she had never even met come out of their apartments to ogle Richard Gere. Young men who weren't in the film—like Paige's murder accomplice, Robert Crawford, would come around just to hang out. Kenna arranged everything so that local members of the Nation of Islam would be handling security, and she talked with the producers and Eastman about hiring locals: Fuqua ended up hiring more than 100 people from the neighborhood. For the first time in a long time, Kenna says, Van Dyke residents felt special, like someone was paying attention. Kenna had a bit part in the film, too; she played a sobbing mother, distraught after a local boy was shot by a cop. That summer, the director even started a small program that taught local kids to handle cameras and shoot film. After a while, though, the illusion wore off, Kenna says. When she finally saw the movie when it was released wide in March 2010, she was disturbed by the portrayal of the neighborhood: the same old shoot-'em-up violence, gangs, and drugs.

"It was corny," another local resident, Betty Weaves, tells the Voice. Of the many drug dens featured on the film: "I've lived here for 50 years and I've never seen an apartment like that," she says.

If the locals were mostly happy, the 73rd Precinct was decidedly not. When the film came out, the NYPD wasn't amused about being shown in such a bad light. But some officers say they were grateful for the way the film showed the real pressures on them.

In the months after the shooting of his scenes, Paige was flooded with new opportunities.

He was flown to Los Angeles, where he attended a BET event, met boxer Floyd Mayweather, and was on set for the filming of the T-Pain and Lil Wayne video, "Can't Believe It." There, he was introduced to producers. "I was just trying to get in everywhere and promote myself," Paige says. "That just opened up so many doors for me to get into a whole different thing. I wasn't just thinking about the acting."

Two weeks later, Paige flew back to Brooklyn with scripts in hand. Back at home, he became a sort of "pseudo-celebrity," says a source within the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office. Wint testified during the trial that he wanted to hang out with Paige because he was very powerful and because many people thought he was on track to become a famous movie star.

But Paige's relationship with the 73rd Precinct also heated up. On August 16, he was arrested for gun and drug possession at the Strauss Street house. A week later, say the Paige family and Paige's attorney, Gary Farrell, Internal Affairs Bureau officers arrived to interview the family about a complaint they had made to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, but the officers ended up arresting Ayeni and a friend of Paige's she had adopted. Paige himself fled by jumping from a second-story window. Charges against Ayeni were later dropped, and she has filed a civil rights lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court over the incident, which she describes as a complete ransacking of her home.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
94 comments
OnQue
OnQue

What the story doesn't tell was that Lethania Garcia was a hit man that killed a lot of people. It may not have been the right course of action but Ziare did what LAW ENFORCEMENT didn't do! The bogus ass cops knew all about what the lil bastard was doing but they didn't care.... The lowlife deserved every bullet that went into his body...

 Brooklyn22
Brooklyn22

Smh yall ppl always takin crazy like really..what if it was one of ya ppls!!!Hold ya head ^^ boy

Dvs
Dvs

A well written story that tells the facts in fluid fassion about lost opportunities. Hang in there little brotha "Zaire", be a force for positive Change.

Stephanieayeni
Stephanieayeni

4 all u haters talkin bout gud 4 him did u ever think t wat u c on tv is real. maybe a dirty ass cop framed him?

Eve
Eve

I love you Zaire you'll always hold a special place in my heart hold your head and have faith........ FUCK ALL YOU HATING ASS BITCHES!!!!

Wwwt
Wwwt

disrespectful are you serious? nigs are ruining this whole fuckin country, thats whats disrespectful jackass

Dulcelanthony
Dulcelanthony

Damnnn. dat was my nigga..I knew Z since elmentary..dats fuked up.

Dert
Dert

fuck that nig nog, he was given a oppertunity that he didnt deserve and he fucked it up like a typical scumbag nigger

SpkTruth2Pwr
SpkTruth2Pwr

Very good article written on unfortunately sad circumstances. I am a bit perturbed by the ignorance with which some people are commenting on this entry. Its clear the young man missed an opportunity to get out of a destructive life style - but calling him dumb or a monkey is unnecessary and disrespectful.

whiteyshardwork
whiteyshardwork

not only did zaire play a dumb nigger in the movies but he was one in real life too

mr y t
mr y t

another monkey headed to the zoo

Mischa
Mischa

excellent and well-researched article. i love how it didn't try to draw big generalized conclusions about street life or gangs, or pretend to have the space to adequately deal with the drug war, or youth in america's cities, or any number of large, abstract themes. it told a story, a poignant story, and it told it honestly, neither sugar coating nor demonizing. bravo.

Jesusiscoming
Jesusiscoming

Funny how loads of people take pride in showing there TRUE racism based on this article!! That is why I am SOOOOOOOOOO HAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYY that this world is going to hell!!! Because ALL You who think you are BETTER than this dude, will be burning right alongside of him in HELLL!!!! Believe That!!!!! Trust me...It IS COMING! Judgement Day!!! And it's About time For ALL You HaTting SATAN Worshipers!!! Because he is the FATHER of ALL Evil, all sin and ALL THINGS HATE!!! MAY YOU ALL GO TO HELL WITH HIM!!!

AFFF
AFFF

ONCE A NIG NOG ALWAYS A NIG NOG

OG
OG

Jail is easy!!!! As you could see life is hard on the streets, not in jail!!!! It obvious this dude gave up a long time ago with his loyalty to a street gang and not to his seed!!! He was to blinded to see the blessing in front of him and not wise enough to walk the path of a man! Eff going back to B-Ville for the true story! Eff the background and all the problems!!! I grew up in Fort Greene when Myrtle ave was called Murder Ave! Don't believe me lets go back 25 years when they were busting off every night!!! You don't see me blaming anyone or making excuses. I do cuss my own people for being Ignorant!! Enough let's get back on target!!!! His next film should be Brooklyns Dumbest because he was dumb enough to fall to the ignorance of the street !!!!

Ffff
Ffff

just another nickle and dime bootlip gone to prison

Ssss
Ssss

who cares? just another dirty little nig nog shooting another dirty nig nog. good riddence

Babbabooey
Babbabooey

we all just laugh when one nig nog kills another nig nog tommorow will be funny in some citie im sure

Dgoodine4
Dgoodine4

That just part of the story village voice you need to come back to brownsville and get all.

Fort Greene
Fort Greene

Great article.

His grandmother's refusal to acknowledge his guilt is heart-breaking. I wonder about his 5 siblings and his own child. Such a sad story, such a sad reality. Whenever I see defendants' families in court with matching t-shirts and vocal protestations of innocence, I wonder where they were while the defendant started on the very long road to the final crime that got them put on trial.

I remember the day of this shooting, as I live two blocks away. I am glad that he got a 107-year sentence. He truly is a danger to all civilized members of society as his judge said.

Alex Pilewski
Alex Pilewski

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

nigs get a life
nigs get a life

nobody cares about nigs killing nigs dont you people get it?

Snnn
Snnn

whats funny is that every time one of thease blacks kill each other ,no one even cares, we just throw them in the garbage like a little chimpmunk or something . only chimpmunks are actually cute, people like chipmunks, people dont like niggers, ha ha ha

Hurdgurdydude
Hurdgurdydude

Another retarted lack of research by the village v. Where can I find the 74th precinct? Anyone? Idiots

Dass
Dass

What a typical dumb nigger

cobbster
cobbster

It is all too bad .......... in the end one crazy decision chooses are next path. Salvation is always at the door ........ what we do next chooses are destination.

Wwwy
Wwwy

just another dirtbag nig nog

Eve
Eve

SHUT THE FUCK UP BITCH YOU SOUND STUPID

goham.mj
goham.mj

hay im in los angeles im from criminal gangster crip in brooklyn .i lost contact with my east coast niggas but i know za.my name  is L.A. if any one from da set get at me ......jigga b. maino. havoc . holla at ya  boy

 

Smacked out here in the ville
Smacked out here in the ville

thas my godbro.. i havent seen him in 3 years and now this happens fuck the police u heard im gonna see this nikka in like a week

ask your mom b otch
ask your mom b otch

i guess you is a dumb knickle dragger too if dat be yo nigga yo, silly monkey

Dert
Dert

fuck you too monkey

Ohyeu
Ohyeu

good, ill be toasting marshmellows on the flames bitch, bababooey bababooey howard sterns penis

Sdf
Sdf

SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE RACIST....AYMAY OUYAY IEDAY onEday!!!

CCB
CCB

OG, I know what you talking about... I grew up in Marcy Projects and I remember when Myrtle Avenue was called "Murder Avenue" I remember going to Cumberland Hospital before they finally closed it view the body of a friend shot in Fort Greene park. I remember my cousins telling me not walk back to Marcy on Myrtle Avenue. Walk on Park Avenue... I feel for this guy... He has know idea what a blessing he has blown... It will all come to him when he gets older and he realizes that his life was worth more than what it has become. I am really praying for this brother... What a waste...

SpkTruth2Pwr
SpkTruth2Pwr

I'm crying over here. Yawn. A pre-schooler has more insight and better remarks. But thank you for your thoughtlessness.

Ohyea
Ohyea

your mother likes this cracker especially when her welfare check runs out and i bring her newports and 40s

AAA
AAA

you must be a useless jungle creature too.

 
New York Concert Tickets
Loading...