Hunted by police but idolised by followers, some street riders have risen from their inner-city neighbourhoods to find fame and big money sponsorship. Could urban dirt biking do a Nascar?
All photographs by M Holden Warren
“This is to dirt bike culture what the Grammys are to hip hop,” beamed veteran rider Albert “Al Capone” Elkerson as he took to the stage of a swanky historic theatre in Manhattan for the second annual Motocross Freestyle Streetriders awards.
It was a family-friendly event, packed with young fans ogling their role models. Smartphones broadcast to millions of followers while Oscars-style trophy girls handed out accolades for best swag, best swerve and longest no-hander.
David Simon’s ‘anti-cop show’ struggled to find an audience before being lauded as a classic and making stars of Idris Elba, Michael B Jordan and others. Here, some of its writers and stars look back at a series that changed TV for ever
When, in 2001, the actor Frankie Faison accepted the role of deputy commissioner Ervin Burrell in a new HBO drama called The Wire, he thought he was signing up for a cop show. “I was expecting it to be more about wiretapping,” he remembers with amusement. “It evolved into something much more fascinating.”
HBO laboured under a similar misapprehension because The Wire’s creator, David Simon, had pitched the show to them as an unusually thoughtful police procedural, not an anatomy lesson in US dysfunction that he really had in mind. “I sold it as a cop show, but they don’t know it’s not really a cop show,” he told the novelist George Pelecanos when he invited him to join the writing team. In fact, he said, it was something audaciously new: “A novel for television.”