Jimmy Cherizier was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Cherizier claimed that he was nicknamed "Barbecue" because there were several other people with the name "Jimmy" in his neighborhood, and because his family ran a barbecue business; however, residents of neighborhoods he targeted during the 2018 Haitian protests claimed that he had acquired the nickname "Barbecue" because he enjoyed burning people and their homes. Cherizier worked as a policeman before becoming a crime boss, founding the G9 Family and Allies, a large confederation of street gangs in Port-au-Prince. He worked with President Jovenel Moise's government to suppress opposition to his government, including in the 2018 La Saline massacre, after which the United States sanctioned him. By September 2020, Cherizier was said by the human rights activist Pierre Esperance to be protected by 50 policemen. That same month, Vice News interviewed him, and he portrayed himself as a champion of the poor who was opposed to a system which gave a small group of people privileges and not anyone else. On 14 May 2021, he was wounded in a gunfight with Ti Gabriel's gang in Cite Soleil.