you just can't make this stuff up...McDonald's robber is finalist in jingle contest -- for McDonald's
|MIAMI - A man who held up a McDonald's at gunpoint when he was 14 is one of two South Florida finalists in a contest to mix a new jingle for the fast-food giant.|
Tamien Bain served 12 years in prison for the crime.
Now 29 and known in hip-hop circles as "BAiNG The Locksmith," Bain, of Miami, learned this week he's made the top five in McDonald's BIG MAC chant competition.
He's not the only finalist from South Florida.
Jason Harper, 29, of Boynton Beach, who left a job with an electronics corporation in January to produce music full time, is also a finalist.
"When I saw the ad on MySpace I thought I could put something tasty together," Harper said.
The public has until Sunday to listen to the ditties and vote for their favorite at MySpace.com/BigMacChant. The winner gets a trip to Los Angeles and bragging rights when their jingle airs in a national McDonald's advertisement.
Bain said he told contest officials up front about his past experience with the fast-food chain. Being a finalist has brought his life with McDonald's full circle.
On Memorial Day 1994, Bain and two other young men were thinking of robbing a bank, when they decided at the last minute to hold up a Miami McDonald's instead.
No shots were fired during the robbery. But Bain, the youngest of the three defendants, was caught on the spot and later charged as an adult.
"The law at that time was very tough, especially in regard to juveniles," said state Rep. Maria Sachs, D- Delray Beach, who at the time was Bain's defense lawyer.
In prison, however, Bain channeled his energy into his music. His talent for stringing lyrics together won him numerous prizes in prison talent shows, he said.
Bain credits his music with giving him another chance at life. When he was released two years ago, he created a program, "Real Talk", with Sachs' help to reach out to kids already in the juvenile justice system. Bain and other rappers visit detention centers to talk about their mistakes and share their music.
"He served a long time but when he was released he didn't take the same road many convicts take," Sachs said. "He didn't become bitter. He wasn't broken. Instead he wanted to give back."
Bain is hoping voters will make him a winner. Nevertheless, he says, his musical journey has already taken him to places that seemed beyond his reach not that long ago.
Georgia East can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4629.
"You deserve a jailbreak today...."