The dope years
The Story of Latasha Harlins
"Although it’s hard to revisit, this film is more than necessary"
-Los Angeles Sentinel
Latasha Harlins was born January 1, 1975, in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in South Central Los Angeles. Her life was cut short at the age of 15 on the morning of March 16, 1991. Latasha was shot in the back of the head by Korean liquor store clerk Soon Ja Du after being wrongfully accused of stealing orange juice. Soon after Latasha's death, people within the community began burning down Korean liquor stores in protest. Her passing not only aided in inciting the LA riots but also brought to light the tensions between the Korean and the Black community in South Central Los Angeles.
"The Dope Years" is a term used by Latasha's cousin Shinese Harlins to describe the glory days of her childhood growing up alongside Latasha Harlins. The film is told through Tybie O'Bard, one of Latasha's childhood friends, Naomi McSwain a family friend and reporter, Shinese Harlins Latasha's cousin and Ebony Faye a community member. The family's retellings paint a vivid portrait of 90s Los Angeles. Collected narratives from her best friend and cousin work to reveal intimate stories that will not only shed light on the political climate during the LA riots but also help to share who Latasha was in life.