The stunt driver killed this morning in an accident on the set of Deadpool 2 has been identified as Joi “SJ” Harris—the first licensed professional African American female road racer, according to her website. The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists confirmed Harris’s identity to Deadline after this morning’s fatal crash.
Deadpool 2 was Harris’s first film as a stunt performer. The young driver had started racing in Brooklyn in 2009, and according to a 2015 fundraising campaign on RallyMe.com, logged over 1,500 training hours before the end of 2012 "while working 2 night jobs and completing a college degree".
Harris received her licence to compete in American Motorcyclist Association races in 2013, becoming the first African American woman to do so. Afterward, she became an advocate for young women of colour in the sport.
In an interview with Black Girls Ride magazine in 2015, she spoke to her beginnings on the professional track, when almost all her competitors were white men who had been training since their young teens.
“I am everything people never saw in this sport,” Harris told Black Girls Ride. “Sisters on the track are few and far between. I want to show them that there’s more for them to be exposed to. I want to get the kids interested in the experience.”
Well the clutch-wrist has been pinned, screwed & "SQUEEZE TESTED" 💪🏽 See you in 2 weeks. 🗓July 8-9 on grid with @ccsasra racing at @njmotorsportspark. Thanx to @absolutecycle for all of your support. #racelife with #sjharris #race #ccsracing #24 #sjsidewayz #blackgirlsride #vortexracing #motodracing #sportbikesinc #clutch #twisted #racergirl #twofour #ontwos
Harris's interview also included money-saving advice for young women entering the sport, encouraging them to compete regardless of the barriers in place.
"Sometimes we overthink things too much! Try it! Just do it!" said Harris.
🙌🏾 FILTERED INTO DARK CHOCOLATE🍫 While this #racergirl heals up, I thought I'd play in some lashes and lipgloss #girlygirl #sometimes I go and #twisthis💄 #darkchocolate it's better for you #youknowyoulikeit #blushonem #pirelli #sjsidewayZ #24 #colorusbeautiful #muahh 💋 Photo Credit: @collettebonapartephoto MUA: @sekoyaisaacmua
Aside from appearing in Deadpool 2, Harris was raising funds to compete in 2017 Champion Cup Series races. Harris was doubling for Zazie Beetz's character Domino, and lost control of her motorcycle, crashing into a glass window at the Shaw Tower on West Waterfront Road.
Colleagues from Deadpool 2 as well as the B.C. film industry at large expressed their heartbreak, with statements from Ryan Reynolds and Creative B.C. posted on Twitter earlier today.
“We’re heartbroken, shocked, and devastated… but recognize nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment,” Reynolds wrote in a statement on Twitter.
WorkSafeBC and the B.C. Coroners Service are currently investigating Harris's death. Filming for Deadpool 2 is currently shut down, with no word on when it will resume.