By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
In the wake of the recent Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, a new film about the pleasures and perils of life in Baltimore through the lens of the young men (and women) who zip through the streets of the city on dirt bikes premiered this week in New York City.
“Charm City Kings,” a film about Baltimore’s iconic, multi-layered dirt bike culture, premiered in New York, on Feb. 13, at 25 Madison Ave., at 25th St. Another screening will take place at that New York location, on Feb. 19. The movie, which is produced by Baltimore native Jada Pinkett-Smith and her husband Will Smith, won the “Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast,” at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
The producers of Charm City Kings provided the following synopsis:
“For Mouse (JAHI DI’ALLO WINSTON, Queen & Slim, Proud Mary, The Upside), the 13-year-old hero of director Angel Manuel Soto’s CHARM CITY KINGS, what he loves is the motorized, urban dirt bike scene that has been a crucial part of Baltimore street life for 50 years.
That culture has created its own music genre, its own styles, and local celebrities in the community including DeWayne Davis aka “Wheelie Wayne,” Chino, and Lakeyria Doughty aka “Wheelie Queen.” They ride Yamahas and Hondas which they use to create genuinely incredible tricks, including the “12 O’Clock” move: Popping a wheelie, and as the bike is on its back wheel, turning the handlebars completely vertical as if they were clock hands facing high noon. But the riders’ lives can turn upside-down in unforeseen ways.”
So, in essence it seems like Charm City Kings is a dramatic version of the award-winning documentary, “12 O’Clock Boys,” which premiered in 2013. And if it is, that’s a great thing.
Charm City Kings stars Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Grammy nominated Hip Hop artist Meek Mill. The movie opens April 10 in Baltimore, New York and L.A. and then nationwide on April 17.