In Massachusetts, representing your neighborhood and establishing where you’re from is like a badge of honor.
But often people claim they were born and raised in places they don’t actually hail from.
Branding yourself in order to create a character can paint a bad picture for a neighborhood, based on how a person acts, especially if that person were to represent a place already plagued by a negative past, fueled with drug use and organized crime—like South Boston.
Even worse would be to do it on national television.
That could be what is happening with MTV’s newest reality star, Brandon Kane.
Starting later this month, Kane will be featured on the 27th season of the long-standing network series, spending several months in the Virgin Islands with six other strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped.
And Kane’s story is deep, according to producers, which may be what set him apart from the rest of the crowd vying for a spot on the reality show.
“With his tattoos and gauged ears, Brandon does not look like your typical Real Worlder. Growing up in Boston’s infamous ‘Southie’ neighborhood, he has had to steal and hustle to survive,” it says about Kane in his bio on MTV’s site.
The bio goes on to say that Kane is homeless and sleeping on couches. It says he believed landing a seat on “The Real World” would help him escape a past filled with “promiscuous sex and coke-fueled partying.”
It also claims he is currently a Quincy resident.
But as news spread throughout the Bay State that the self-proclaimed bad boy would be on reality TV, some people started to second-guess Kane’s Southie background.
Some residents claiming to be from South Boston were not pleased with Kane telling the world he grew up hustling in the streets.
On the Boston Metro website, under a story titled “Southie Bad Boy Joins Real World Cast,” comments from a user named “From South Boston,” said Kane could “get a beating” for making such claims.
Others said they know Kane from Quincy, and he has “never lived a day in Southie in his life.”
One man even went as far as to say that “Kane is pretending, whether through the influence of MTV or not, to be from somewhere he is not.”
“He is then going to go on national television to represent a population that he knows nothing about,” they wrote.
But MTV insisted they did a background check on Kane, as is required.
“In regards to background checks, as with all reality shows, we conduct thorough checks on all participants,” said a spokesperson from MTV, when asked by BostInno about Kane’s background.
When BostInno asked the network representative if Kane was from Quincy, they replied “Brandon does not consider himself to be a ‘Southie,’ he just spent some time there.”
Then why the claim that he grew up there?
Kane’s own brother even throws the reality star under the bus.
And why do numerous accounts connected to Brandon Kane use screen names like “D Street Hooligan,” a street known to Southie, with profiles describing him as “from South Boston.”
“Name is hollywood from Dst southie, [sic]” it reads on Kane’s Formspring account, which had pictures that matched those on Kane’s official Facebook page.
If he is “not from Southie,” as MTV claimed, and indeed from Quincy, why so many references to the Boston neighborhood?
BostInno started to do some more digging to find out if Kane had used a lifestyle in South Boston to sell himself for the network series.
After “Friending” Kane on Facebook, we finally got a response.
“I didn’t lie at all man. Nothing to lie about,” he said in a message. “Honestly all my stories have been getting twisted. I am not interested in anymore interviews. Sorry my dude.”
When asked to finally set the record straight, Kane told us his “childhood was Southie” and he left there and went to New Hampshire for 2 years then moved to Quincy as a teen.
“I spent my childhood in Southie. Then use [sic] to kick it there in my summers with my cuzins [sic]. I’ve honestly bounced around so much haha I’m from everywhere,” he said.
When asked if MTV’s description about him growing up “in Boston’s infamous ‘Southie’ neighborhood” and having to “steal and hustle to survive,” and being “homeless and couch-surfing,” was a lie, Kane didn’t reply.
However, since he got back from filming, Kane brags that he has since moved into a new apartment—which solves the homeless issue.
After the conversation ended, we scrolled down to read some more of his posts, and sure enough, the controversy over where he grew up has been festering in some form for the South Boston-wannabe.
“Not explaining myself here. It’s TV buy into whatever you want. Laugh and judge all you want, call it fake all you want. Cuz if I was being fake which I wasn’t, f*** I faked my way to TV lol you’re fake and at home. Kiss my ass[sic],” he wrote on his wall.
But will Southie buy it, or, for that matter, will Quincy?