Rap star Prodigy is best known for The Infamous , an album he released when he was just a teenager as half of the venerable Queens duo, Mobb Deep. But as Mobb Deep took over the world, something was happening to Prodigy behind the scenes, a piece of his life set apart from his legendary lyricism and New York realness. A pain so excruciating it could make Prodigy feel like his bones were on fire; a pain that landed him in the Vegas hospital where he died last year.
The Realness takes you behind Prodigy’s music to his life with sickle cell anemia, revealing how his condition touched almost every part of his life: from the sound of his rhymes to the circumstances of his death.
Episode 8: “They call him Cheese”
One day in February, a group of staff packed up Arnaldo's belongings, moved him out of Carlton Palms and into a three-bedroom house in a suburban neighborhood. On its face, it's the type of setting disability advocates strive toward. Arnaldo has his own bedroom, more autonomy, a staff that looks after him.
At the moment, Arnaldo is the only resident. He'll eventually share the house with two other men, but just days before the first is slated to join Arnaldo, he dies - under suspicious circumstances in the care of Carlton Palms.
Episode 7: “The man behind an empire”
For decades, Carlton Palms' elusive founder, Ken Mazik, has wielded his power and influence to sway members of Congress and state legislatures into bending the rules in his favor -- from scuttling laws that would limit the use of physical restraints, to securing permission from the state of Florida to amass a fortune in Medicaid funding.
As one of his former employees told us, "Ken Mazik made millions of dollars tying up little kids."
Episode 6: “When they don’t behave”
A cup of hot water thrown on a developmentally-disabled resident. Another kicked in the ribs. A tooth knocked out by a staff member. Carlton Palms is known for abuse and even death. So why is the state of Florida so reluctant to close it?
Episode 5: “I need to believe”
A year and a half after the shooting, there are signs of trouble at Arnaldo's new home, Carlton Palms. The staff isn't keeping an eye on him. There are unexplained injuries. His mother isn't allowed to see his room and he's being restrained in a full-body mat for getting out of bed at night.
And yet, his family continues to hold out hope that this is the right place for him.