It was 2014, when she took to the race track. Joi “SJ” Harris had a GSXR 600, a suit of racing leathers and the title of first professional African-American female road racer. She was finding success and winning races in the Championship Cup Series (CCS) and the West East Racing Association (WERA). But as she grew and tried to share her love for motorcycling, tragedy struck.
Movie Set Tragedy Rocks the Motorcycling Community
On August 14th, while performing a stunt for the movie “Deadpool 2” in Vancouver, SJ lost control of her motorcycle and crashed into a building. Just minutes before, SJ had completed four practice runs of the stunt before everything went wrong.
According to eyewitnesses and WorkSafeBC—the Canadian equivalent to OSHA—the Ducati motorcycle suddenly accelerated after riding down a flight of stairs. Apparently, the bike was supposed to stop on the first landing before the street but continued forward instead. After swerving to avoid pedestrians the motorcycle hit a curb, sending the stunt rider into a plate glass window. Emergency crews were contacted and they rushed to help the woman. Unfortunately, she succumbed to her injuries on set.
Though SJ was an experienced motorcycle racer, she did not have any stunt training. People close to the production say that her lack of experience may have been overlooked because her skin tone matched that of actress Zazie Beetz, who stars as Domino in the film. This has led some film industry authorities to blame studio executives for the crash.
Meanwhile, the motorcycling community has been shaken by the passing of the first African-American woman to race motorcycles professionally. She was considered a pioneer for both women and African-Americans in motorcycle racing and will be missed.
Brought to you by the attorneys who ride at the Metier Law Firm.