If you didn't already know, director F. Gary Gray is also a Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiast, and he combines his two passions (filmmaking and motocycling) in a new documentary, which will debut on www.h-d.com/ironelite.
The documentary, follows Gray and three of his Harley-riding friends, including actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, on a 500 mile ride, from Atlanta, GA to one of the largest annual gatherings of black bikers in Daytona Beach, Fl.
The company is celebrating its 110th Anniversary Celebration by has enlisting riders from around the world to take a single leather jacket - called the Freedom Jacket - on a trip around the world, and to share their stories online, as it passes from rider to rider, finally ending up at the Harley-Davidson Museum, in Milwaukee, on Labor Day weekend this fall.
“The Freedom Jacket symbolizes the brotherhood between riders.” said Gray. “Adding a patch honoring the Iron Elite represents Harley’s long history with African American riders; whether you’re in a group or a single rider, we all have this unspoken bond.”
The rest of the story:
Gray joins a long line of African Americans who have contributed to the 110 year history of Harley-Davidson. Since the company’s founding in 1903, African Americans have had a defining impact on Harley-Davidson’s brand and motorcycling culture. It is a history filled with visionaries, artists, leaders and revolutionaries.
Figures like William B. Johnson, the first African American licensed by the American Motorcycle Association to race, as well as the first African American to own a Harley-Davidson dealership; Bessie Stringfield, the first black woman to ride solo cross country; and Benny Hardy, the custom bike builder who created the Captain America motorcycle for the movie “Easy Rider.”
For a behind the scenes look at Gray’s inspirational journey with the Freedom Jacket, and to find more feature stories about African American Harley legends and the brotherhood of black bikers, visit: www. h-d.com/ironelite.
Harley-Davidson fans are invited to learn more about the 110th Anniversary and join the celebration online where they can share videos, images and experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at www.h-d.com/110.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website at www.harley-davidson.com.
Here's a behind-the-scenes clip from the film: