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Deadpool 2 stuntwoman killed in crash was one of first African-American female racers

Contributed by
Aug 15, 2017

The motorcycle stuntwoman killed on the set of Deadpool 2 has been identified as Joi “SJ” Harris, her family has confirmed to media.

Harris died Moday in a motorcycle crash on the set of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, Canada. Investigators are still working to determine exactly what happened, though witnesses report her bike accelerated when it should have stopped, and Harris collided with a plate-glass window at Shaw Tower on West Waterfront Road near Jack Poole Plaza. Harris was doubling the character Domino (Zazie Beetz). Deadline reports Harris spent most of the weekend rehearsing the stunt, and practiced it several times Monday morning before the fatal crash. She was reportedly not wearing a helmet, because the character did not wear one in the shot. Harris died at the scene.

On her blog, Harris described herself as "the first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in sanctioned motorcycle road racing events,” and went by the nickname "sj sidewayz.” The Deadpool 2 gig was Harris’ first job as a stuntwoman. Harris received her racing license in May of 2013, and began racing in 2014 with the American Sportbike Racing Association/Championship Cup Series. She also served as an advocate for the sport, and female racers in general.

In a statement on the accident, Deadpool 2 director David Leitch said he was “deeply saddened by the loss of one of our stunt performers today. No words can express how I and the rest of the Deadpool 2 crew feel about this tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones in this difficult time.”

In a blog post published just a month ago, Harris talked about facing her fears while riding, and encouraged others to do the same:

“Weren't we all scared of crossing the street before we understood what made us scared? It wasn't us actually walking across the street, we were more afraid of the possibility of getting hit by a moving vehicle. Once we became confident in our ability to look both ways before crossing a road the fear diminished. THAT'S IT...you have to analyze WHY YOU ARE AFRAID, then the fear is lessened … I’ve learned to accept that I am not the greatest rider that exists and that there is always something to learn when on track and pushing limits. Sometimes I'm going to eat it if I'm impatient. Everything takes time. Face your fears you never know what you can missing out on.”

Production on Deadpool 2 has been temporarily halted in the wake of the crash. The film is set for release on June 1, 2018.

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