Coming to HBO tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12:
YUSUF HAWKINS: STORM OVER BROOKLYN
Tribeca 2020 (cancelled)
The racially-motivated murder of a black teenager in 1989 Brooklyn mobilizes a quest for justice.
When 16-year-old Yusuf Hawkins and three of his friends left their East New York neighborhood for Bensonhurst on August 23, 1989, they were only planning to check out a used car that was for sale. Coincidentally, a local white girl had antagonized young white men in the neighborhood with the threat that black and Hispanic guys were coming to a party and were looking to fight. Mistaken for these unwanted intruders, Hawkins and his friends were ambushed by a gang wielding baseball bats – and a gun. Hawkins was shot and killed. Coming soon after the demonization of African American youth through the Central Park jogger case and unquestionably motivated by racial bias, Hawkins’ murder set off a series of protests, led by the controversial Reverend Al Sharpton, to demand justice – and are met with further prejudice and entrenched territorialism by the Italian-American community in Bensonhurst. Filmmaker Muta’Ali Muhammad revisits this catalyzing incident, its impact on Hawkins’ family, friends, and supporters, and how it exposed deep-rooted prejudices and systemic inequities that have never been adequately rectified.