Directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad, Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, tells the story of 16 year old Yusuf Hawkins, a black teenager, who was murdered in 1989 by a group of young white men in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. His death and the official response to it sparked outrage in New York, unleashing a torrent of racial tension and spurring tireless civil rights activism that exposed deep racial prejudices and inequities that continue to plague the country today.
“It’s important to remember Yusuf Hawkins, honor his life and be mindful that our martyrs have families who need our love long after the marching subsides,” states Muta’Ali Muhammad. “This film ties together the past and the present showing how racism can rear its head anywhere, even in a liberal city.”
Devastated by the senseless murder and seeking answers. The Hawkins family was shocked when police asked them to stay silent in order to prevent any civil unrest. However, the press caught wind of the story two days later and the family was met with Yusuf’s face on the front page of the newspaper. Yusuf’s father, Moses, reached out to activist Reverend Al Sharpton, who became the family’s spokesperson and co-organized a series of marches in the Bensonhurst neighborhood where Yusuf was killed. Throughout the protests in the year following Yusuf’s murder, activists, protestors and Yusuf’s family were met with intense racist vitriol from residents.
A deeply emotional film with a chilling resonance in today’s America. Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn, explores the 30-year legacy of Yusuf’s murder as his family and friends reflect on the tragedy and the subsequent fight for justice that inspired and divided New York City.
Directed by Muta’Ali Muhammad and produced by Jevon Frank, Victorious De Costa and Muta’Ali Muhammad. The story of Yusuf Hawkins life and tragic death, is a must watch film. In a time when citizens are frustrated and fed-up with racial injustice and inequality. The harrowing account of an immutable part of the city’s history, and of a family coping with profound grief deepened by injustice. A grief that has sadly not stopped affecting many families of this community. This film details how the senseless murder that shook the foundation of the city shed light on deep racial divisions and inequity. Further proving that this injustice is not something new, it has been going for years and must be stopped.
Yusuf Hawkins story will debut exclusively on HBO, August 12th.