The Wild and Redemptive Story of a Drug Trafficker Unfolds in ‘MILES IN THE LIFE’ July 30-August 6 at BLK Docs.

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( Coming off a successful series start with “Wilmington on Fire”, BLK Docs, an ongoing initiative from Speller Street Films and The Luminal Theater in partnership with Seed&Spark, continues its focus on publicly exhibiting documentary films specifically made by Black documentary filmmakers with its second monthly entry, a multi-layered story that is as much about redemption and society as it is about notorious acts.

In “Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker,” we meet Jabari Hayes, who grew up in crack-era Brooklyn during its 1980’s epidemic, with his mother falling victim to the narcotic.  While Hayes eventually escaped to St. Louis, Missouri to live with his father, and eventually became a star student athlete at Morehouse College, graduating summa cum laude, he found himself once more at the center of the drug game.

Shortly after using his entrepreneurial skills to establish a limousine company, Hayes was introduced to the Black Mafia Family, the then largest African-American drug organization in the southeast, and his life was forever changed.  Armed with only a fleet of limos, he trafficked large quantities of cocaine across the country, making a lot of money, but putting his life in constant danger.  Despite the risks, a compelling reason for Hayes to continue was the brotherhood he attained, and their seeming invincibility. “100 men that are ready to die for you?” Hayes remarks in the film, “It’s intoxicating.” But it couldn’t last forever.  The fallout from his notorious lifestyle, coupled with Hayes’ redemption to rebuild his life outside of illegal enterprises, form the cornerstone for “Miles in the Life.”

The Wild and Redemptive Story of a Drug Trafficker-BLKDOCS-BlackMafia-MilesInTheLife

“I never set out to make a documentary such as “Miles in the Life,” recounts the film’s director and producer Shaun Mathis, “[Films] pertaining to crime or drugs were the furthest from my mind.” Yet, there was a quality to Hayes that changed Mathis’ mind. “When I met Jabari, I still had the notion that any individual involved with the drug game was a terrible person unworthy of second chances. [But] Jabari is a jovial, charismatic person, who runs his business with the culture of customers first. He’s a father, a husband, a mentor, a loving son, just an all around great person to know,” resulting in the director being impelled to commit Hayes’ story to film.

“For so many in the Black community, entering the drug game was and is a response to providing for themselves and their families due to a lack of jobs, lack of educational services, and the abandonment of our neighborhoods by local and state governments,” says Curtis Caesar John, co-founder of BLK Docs.  “American society glamorizes crime culture, and the game was glamorous for Jabari and all the ‘Jabari’s’ out there.  All the ways he has atoned for his former lifestyle makes “Miles…” a shockingly fascinating documentary that should be seen by all.”

BLK Docs will host two Q&A sessions: on July 30th, Mathis and Hayes will share how “Miles in the Life” came to be, and shed more light on this gripping tale (8pm), and on Tuesday, August 4th with special guests from the film (7pm).

The August edition of BLK Docs will feature Gillian Scott-Ward’s 2018 documentary “Back to Natural”, exploring the relationship between politics, hair, and racial identity in Black communities. Future BLK Docs lineups will be announced at  To submit a feature length or short film documentary to this monthly series, all to be held virtually for the immediate future, email BLK Docs at


2018/USA/96 minutes

Directed by Shaun Mathis

After growing up in a crack house in Brooklyn, New York, Jabari Hayes became an All-American track star at Morehouse College.  But upon graduating, he used the cover of an Atlanta limousine driver to traffic large quantities of cocaine across the country for the then largest African American drug organization in America (1999-2007) known as Black Mafia Family (BMF).  This is that story, and the story of Jabari’s redemption.

About The Luminal Theater

The Luminal Theater is a nomadic cinema that provides fully-curated exhibitions of diverse cinema and media of the Black/African diaspora, allowing these artists to present their work within our unique brand of shared audience experiences, and centered in predominantly Black communities. The Luminal serves an eager population of filmmakers, mediamakers, film enthusiasts, multiple discipline artists and art-minded people, all looking to use Black cinema to reignite imagination and media storytelling in the Black community.

About Speller Street Films

Founded in 2015, Speller Street Films is a Durham, North Carolina based creative film studio committed to developing and producing cinematic content in a variety of mediums for the global marketplace. Speller Street Films also serves as a film marketing and distribution consulting agency providing a new lane for hybrid distribution and community engagement strategies.

About Seed&Spark

Seed&Spark connects people through stories that matter. Since 2012, their platform has helped thousands of creators bring stories to life and to audiences via story-centric crowdfunding, on-platform streaming, live community events and workplace programs that cultivate a culture of equity and inclusion. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seed&Spark launched a complete online festival platform, keeping creators, sponsors and audiences connected while ensuring the survival of the independent creative ecosystem.

For press inquiries, please contact Speller Street Films at