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Bobby Shmurda’s Mother Opens Up About Rapper’s Legal Woes and the Movie Scripts He’s Writing in Jail – Exclusive

Neilson Barnard, Getty Images
Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

Bobby Shmurda showing off his best Michael Jackson moves isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the rapper, but for his mother, Leslie Pollard, the memory of her son performing the King of Pop’s classic songs as a tyke is forever engrained in her brain. Thoughts like this bring a smile to Pollard’s face as she sits inside XXL headquarters in New York City, recalling fonder memories of her son.

His mom, 41, not only gave birth to the “Hot N*gga” rhymer 21 years ago but she’s also his acting manager. As a result, Pollard is no stranger to Bobby as an artist — both the positive and negative aspects it brings. Much like the public, she find out he was arrested on Dec. 17, 2014, along with 13 other men including his brother Javase, and charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the second degree, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia. Like any mother, the news came as a shock.

Since then, Pollard, who runs Create a Buzz Management and the M & L Seafood Boutique in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been showing up at every court date to support her son during his ongoing legal battle. For 448 days — the length of time he’s been in jail — she’s been assisting him in any way she can — helping him fight to get his $2 million bail reduced, which is no easy feat considering the judge has denied the request more than four times, and getting advice from industry veterans.

According to Shmurda, he feels there is a “bunch of injustice” going on with his case and that his constitutional and civil rights are being violated. Currently jailed in the Westchester County Correction facility, the rapper is looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. His mom says he believes that he’ll get out of jail, which is certainly a positive mindset to have despite the situation.

Shmurda has two more months to go until his trial begins on May 11. Until the day arrives, mom reveals he’s keeping himself busy by writing movie scripts, among other things. Find out what Leslie Pollard has to say about her son’s legal woes, his pen game behind bars and Michael Jackson’s influence on his life.

XXL: How are you feeling with the whole case and how it’s being handled at this point? 

Leslie Pollard: I’m feeling like i’m in limbo. I just don’t know what’s going on and, sadly enough, I feel like my son is being mistreated. I feel like you have probable cause to lock them up, they’re innocent until proven guilty but I just wish that they would treat him like Ackquille Pollard [his government name]. I just feel like it’s a Bobby Shmurda cause, and that’s not fair. Then, I have only two sons and both of them are involved so it’s very strenuous.

Sometimes he’s able to speak out to the public and sometimes he can’t. How’s the communication you have with him?

Me and his brother, we communicate with him numerous times a day. We try and do video chats with him. The facility that he’s at right now, he was moved out of New York City to Westchester and we have more leverage, so we’re able to… I visit, between his brother and me he gets at least two visits a week. The video chats sometimes once, twice a day where we can see him and he can see the house. He’s on the phone numerous times a day.

That’s awesome, so you can FaceTime with your own phone? So they allow that in the prison?

Yeah, in Westchester.

How did that feel, to just be able to see him in that respect? When was the first time you did that?

I believe it was in October, maybe. The end of October he was transferred from Rikers Island to Westchester.

Of 2015?

Yeah. At first, we didn’t even know what was going on or why they were transferring him that far, but it’s not far from the house. It’s actually closer to my house than Rikers Island. Then the video chat, at least I can see him every day. At least I can take a look at his face, make sure he’s okay. Then he has visiting on Thursdays and Sundays. We can see his face every day, that’s a little easier. I just want him home and this whole thing over with.

How do you feel about the public support Bobby has received throughout this whole legal ordeal?

I’m very thankful. A lot of people reach out to me and try to make sure he’s okay. The fans have been great with him, he appreciates it. He reads all of the letters, responds to some. The pictures, the magazines. A lot of people are not fully aware of what’s going on. I see that they have it out in the media that he’s been denied bail seven times, he hasn’t. He’s been given a bail, on the first arraignment which is two million dollars. What has been denied has been the reduction of the bail. The bail is excessive due to the charges that he’s facing. It’s very excessive. It’s just because of who he is and because he makes the case a high-profile case.

There was also an amount that was four times the bail was denied? Do you think that’s a correct number for the bail — more or less than seven?

That the bail reduction has been denied? Every time we go to court, he pushes for the bail to be reduced because it’s just not fair. It’s very excessive for the charges that he has. He doesn’t have any valid charges against him. He has a conspiracy charge and the underlying of that is the possession of a firearm. There’s no way in America they’re going to you $2 million bail for that.

Are you there at every court date?

Every single court date, yes.

Have you counted how many times it’s been? 

More than a handful, I didn’t count. Every time he’s in court, he looks up, he’s gonna see me there.

You mentioned you had two sons.

Yeah, my other son is also involved in the conspiracy as well. He’s out, he’s been out since July.

When your other son Javase came out of jail, was he able to tell you anything else that you didn’t know when it came to the case? 

No, not really. He was just very upset and stressed out. Like I said, if it were four months prior, because that’s when [Bobby] signed his contract, he wouldn’t have been $100,000 bail, $200,000. Now because of who he is, it’s like he’s being penalized for his success. So it’s very stressful. Our setting is very small, and it’s very stressful on everyone because we are close-knit like that. We’re always used to being together, and Ackquille is like the baby and he’s not used to being away from us. It’s a lot.

So Javase is older, how old is he?

He’s 23.

With all of the lawyers, since there’s been a few changes, who’s helping to fund that?

A lot of the funding came from like the advances from his contract. Well, all of it.

So at this time, has there been other artists that have reached out to you in the hip-hop community to give you advice on this or to help out?

Me, myself, I’ve been in contact with 50 [Cent]. I’ve been in contact with, always in contact with Ebro [Darden of Hot 97] from the radio station. He’s great support from Hot 97. I’ve been in touch recently with Ace General, he’s one of the actors in Money & Violence. Ackquille has been in contact with Meek Mill, he’s been in contact with Maino. I think he spoke to Fabolous. He’s spoken to quite a few people, but me, myself, those are the three I’ve been in contact with.

So, when it comes to 50, in what capacity have you guys spoken about this? Has he wanted to help?

Yeah. At the very beginning, he was just trying to find out what was going on and what kind of advice he could give me to help. Where we were, things of that nature. I spoke to him at the beginning, but we kinda lost contact. Nothing really came out of it, but he was interested in what was going on and what he could do to help.

At this point, do you have anything put together? Petitions?

Not yet, but we’re working on it. I have something in place that I can’t speak on yet, but hopefully by next week we’ll find out what’s going on. It’ll be publicized.

Overall, how are you feeling as a person?

Empty. At this point, there’s nothing that I can do. I gave it to God and I know he’s going to come through it, it’s just a matter of waiting it out. Nothing happens before it’s supposed to, so my job as a parent is to make sure he has what he needs and has what he wants to make him comfortable and just to be there for him. Make sure that I can see his face and make sure he’s okay. That’s my job and that’s what I’m going to do from here on out.

How does that work in terms of what he needs? What are you giving him that you feel makes him comfortable while he’s there?

Anything that he can get, clothing, his food. Anything that he can get, phone time. Right now, with the facility he’s in, the calls are longer. If we have to spend for him to talk for an hour or two just to ease his mind to make him more comfortable, I’ll make sure that happens.

Fans always want to know the particulars about their favorite artist. What kind of things can you give him that he enjoys? 

It’s difficult with Ackquille. At the facility he’s at now, you can go to IKEA.com and order packages for him or food. Ackquille is a funny kid, he doesn’t really like fast-food. I’m always cooking in the house. Anyone who knows me knows our house is like a restaurant, I cook six, seven days a week so he’s used to his cooked food. It’s hard for him to eat from the cafeteria in jail, so we make sure his commissary stays up, that he can have his meat. As close as comfortable as he can be, I try and make sure he has his magazines, clean clothes. Anything that he can have, I try to make sure he does have, his radio, anything to make him — he’s not going to be comfortable, but as close as comfortable as he can. We try and make it happen for him.

A radio, can he have certain music?

He can have a Walkman; he has a Walkman with a cassette player. The thing about cassette players, cassettes are phased out years ago and they can only be original cassettes. But he has a radio.

Have you sent him any cassettes?

I tried to take him a few, but they wouldn’t take it because they were made over. I’m going to go back and, he loves Michael Jackson. A lot of people don’t know that about him but he does love Michael Jackson. I’m going to go back after I find some originals and send it to him.

EBay might help, Amazon. What else can he get besides that?

He loves the letters. Tell the fans keep up with the letters. Also, with the court dates, they are open court dates. The fans are absolutely welcome to come down and show support. The more people he can look back and see is better for him.

May 11 is his next court date, correct?

Yes.

How does he feel about that, because I know the court date was supposed to be Feb. 22.

It’s been pushed back. It’s hard for him, that’s another three months he knows it’s going to be in there. They’re giving a lot of issues with the bail, even with someone that’s willing to come forward with the bail, they’re making it impossible to bail out. Just praying, hoping it’ll be over. I’m trying to keep his spirits up when we do speak to him, try to deter him from even thinking about the case even though it’s hard. He has a new nephew, so he enjoys hearing about him and seeing him through video chat and his brother tries to take his nephew to go see him when possible.

Is there anything in there that he’s shared with you that he’s done? Whether he’s taken classes, doing a certain job?

He has limited movement because he’s in protective custody because of his status, but he writes a lot. He’s always happy to share lyrics that he makes up.

So he is writing new music?

Yes.

Does he ever write outside of that? Poems, or anything? 

No, he writes a lot of music

Can you share anything that he’s written that you remember?

Well, let me go back, he’s also writing a script for a movie. He said he has two movie in his head that he’s working on now.

Did you know him to be big with movies or interested in that?

Yeah, he loves music but that’s something he was always interested in transitioning to. He loves the whole Will Smith thing. That’s something he’s very interested in, acting. I don’t know, have you ever met Ackquille before? He’s very animated and comical.

I’ve seen plenty of interviews.

When you meet him, you’ll be shocked; it’s nothing different. He’s always been an entertaining kid, since he was a baby. He’s always entertaining, that’s what he likes to do.

With the script, has he shared any of what the inspiration was?

Yeah, a lot about of what’s going on now and his early childhood and his friends. A lot of people don’t know but, the GS9 is his music label, and the guys that are locked up with him, 90 percent of them are childhood friends since he was 3, 4 years old. He just wants to build a storyline, letting people know where they started, where they came from and how these people are and what they’re doing and what the media is trying to portray them as. He also gave us insight about who, which people he’s going to let play which characters and things of that nature.

You mentioned two ideas, one is based on his life and is the other one different?

I think one of them is based on from the beginning. The other one is based on the experiences he has as Bobby Shmurda.

One is the come-up. Very interesting. How do you think he feels about his current situation in jail? Have you seen his spirit change for the better? I know that’s hard to do, but as the days go by, does he think “I will get out of here” or do you feel like it’s the same since he’s been in?

He definitely knows he’s going to get out, that’s definite. There is light at the end of the tunnel. He believes that he’s coming out. He knows that. His spirit is up and down every day. I think he gets depressed, it’s hard for you to sit back and know that people that can actually control what your destiny is, your future, are doing things that aren’t being done in the right way. It should be illegal what they’re doing to him now, so that’s heartbreaking for him and it makes him afraid sometimes. Like i tell him, I don’t think God would give you all of this just to snatch away from you that easily. He knows, I let him know, I try to fill it in his head that this is just like a minor setback but when you get out and get back, it’s going to be big. He knows that, he’s just working on for what he has for the people when he gets out.

Has he mentioned anything, like “When I get out I want to do this a different way” in terms of the moves he was making?

Yeah, he’s going to have to trim down the crowds and their affiliates, he knows that. He’s going to have to tighten up, security and make sure his surroundings are tight. He’s aware. He just wants to come out and throw himself all into his work. What bothers me a lot is, to me it seems he’s paranoid. If he’ll come out, they’ll try and set him up as far as the police. These police that arrested him, they tell the people that they’ve been investigating him since 2013, no it’s been 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. He doesn’t feel comfortable in the place that he’s in anymore, which is New York. So we’ll probably look to relocate. He can’t do a show or cross the street without them being on his back. It’s a lot.

You mentioned the fans are always writing to him, has he shared anything with you about something that has stuck out from a certain fan?

I can’t point out any which one, but he’s always showing us pictures –

Oh, so people are drawing. Do they draw him?

Yeah. Yes. They send pictures of themselves, he has a lot of support. They do support him. I’ve been to the facility before and have bumped into fans that are trying to go see him.

What are your most concerning thoughts or ultimate goal with Bobby’s case? 

For Ackquille? I just want him to come out, get back to work and be the best that he can be. He inspires a lot of people. People love him, they love to watch him. I’m thankful for the fans that are there for him, and I just want him to come out and give them what they need.

Were you able to hear any music from him that the public hasn’t heard yet?

Yeah, there’s a lot. A lot of music that is there. Things that need to be finished off and put together, but he has a lot. When Ackquille goes into the studio, he’s a big fan of himself. When he goes in, he puts work together. He enjoys what he does, it’s natural for him. He has a lot of work he comes out. He’s just waiting. He’s very excited about what New York is doing, the new artists that are coming out of New York. He’s very happy, excited. There’s a new artist, Desiigner, he likes Fetty Wap. The East is coming back. He’s very excited. He can’t wait to jump out and be a part of it.

What does he feel about the New York artists? You mentioned Desiigner.

He loves the sound of the music. He likes that it just didn’t die down once his mishap happened. He likes that people are carrying the torch. He feels like it needs to come back and it’s coming back right now.

Also, with the court system, how’s your opinion of the judge? I know there’s a new judge that got involved in the case recently.

There’s only been one court date, that was really him and introducing himself. He did deny the bond reduction, but I guess we’ll see. It’s sad that what I have seen of the judge is that they don’t want to hear anything from the lawyer. The D.A. pleaded their case and that’s just it, and I don’t think that’s fair. In the court of law, it’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. There’s a D.A. who is going to present his case, I think he should hear the lawyer out and hear what he has to say.

When the court date is set and you guys are there in the room, they don’t let Bobby’s lawyer speak?

[The judge] is not interested in what he has to say. They shut [the lawyer] down. It’s not only Bobby. I’ve seen numerous people — they’re not interested.

How does Bobby feel about his lawyer? I know that he’s also changed lawyers a few times.

This is the third one. We’re waiting to see what happens; that’s where it is now.

And the reason why he switched lawyers?

Things just weren’t working out in his favor; things weren’t happening. The fighting wasn’t going on the way it should have been.

To get this lawyer, Alex Spiro, how did that come about? 

I don’t want to comment.

He has about two months to go before the next court date, how do you feel like he’s just being able to stay positive until that time?

The support he gets from his family and friends. Just talking to us, being able to see us, we update him on what’s going on. Right now we’re preparing for trial. It’s hard. Really hard. But he’s been sitting there for almost 14 months. He just has to be strong, there’s nothing else we can do at this point.

Does he prepare for court?

No, he just goes in. He knows there’s nothing he can do. He just has to be strong, you make yourself weak and you worry and cry about it, then it’s just going to be worse. All you can do is pray about it.

You mentioned he’s always been animated, when did you realize he had a talent?

When? Since he was born [laughs]. He was just always doing something. Ackquille was always, since he was walking, he loves to dance. He loves music. I feel like that little radio, I feel like that radio he has while he’s in, if they take that away they take away everything. He loves the music, he likes to be entertained. He entertains himself, he really does entertain himself.

When he was younger, how did he entertain himself?

He always liked to dance. He always had to be the center of attention, he would always put everyone in the living room and he had to be the one dancing or singing or reenacting something he saw on TV. He’s always been very outgoing and animated, always has to be the center of attention. Like, what you see in Bobby, that’s who he is, he’s always been that way.

He likes Michael Jackson. How did that come into play in his life?

He loved to dance, he loves the music. Anybody that can get on a stage and entertain him, and dance and move, Ackquille loves them.

Was there a certain song of Michael Jackson’s that you know he loved? 

All of them. Ackquille got it from my father. My father was a huge Michael Jackson fan. When my father was at work — my father lives in Florida — so when we would go down for the summers, Ackquille would actually make up a stage show and when my father came home, he would sit him down and do a whole show for him. He likes to entertain people, always.

That’s awesome. I don’t think many people really know his love of Michael Jackson. That’s a really interesting aspect about him. Would you like to share anything else?

No, I just want to thank everybody for their support. The fans, you can look him up and write him you’re absolutely welcome to come out to the court dates. The more support that we get, and the more people he can look up and see and the judge and D.A., it’s better. I just invite everyone to come out and support. Whoever can come out, we’re always happy.

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