Yusuf Hawkins was slain by a violent white mob nearly 30 years ago, and a new documentary will examine the incidents leading up to this tragic moment in New York history. HBO has ordered Storm Over Brooklyn and will be coming to the cable network at a later date.
Shadow and Act writes:
The project is a result of the inaugural Feature Documentary Initiative created in 2017 between U.K./U.S. producer Lightbox and the American Black Film Festival to foster diversity in the feature documentary arena.
Directed by Muta’Ali, the film will center on the crime which shocked New York and the result of the nation, and its trickle-down impacts. Sixteen-year-old Hawkins had come to Bensonhurst with three friends to look at a used car, when they were attacked by the hostile mob, whose members mistakenly believed that Hawkins was dating a neighborhood girl who was white. The incident shocked New York and the world and unleashed a torrent of racial tension in an already divided city and led to televised protests and marches. The growing unrest contributed to the ousting of New York City Mayor Ed Koch in favor of David Dinkins, who became the city’s first — and as of now, only — African American mayor.
“Yusuf Hawkins’ murder had a major effect on the public, and the locked away regret and sorrow questions a history that those involved have held onto for nearly 30 years. We will finally see the light of day in the context of our time. This is due to the courage of Yusuf’s loving family, as well as the visionary talent teams at HBO, Lightbox and ABFF,” said Muta’Ali.
Joseph Fama, the man who fired the gunshots that killed Hawkins, was convicted of second-degree murder in May 1990. An accomplice, Keith Mondello, was acquitted of murder charges that year but charged with 12 other counts, which led to protests in the region led by Rev. Al Sharpton and other leaders.
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