Chicago

‘A Love Song For Latasha’ director on her mission to rebirth life of Latasha Harlins, 15-year-old slain Black girl killed in 1992

LOS ANGELES — The 2021 Oscars made history with a record number of diverse nominations. In a similar vein, some nods were given to films that told the hidden stories of historically underrepresented communities that are often overlooked and ignored by mainstream media.

Director Sophia Nahli Allison’s Oscar-nominated documentary short, “A Love Song for Latasha,” explores the hidden story behind the life of Latasha Harlins.

The 1992 headlines on Harlins’ murder at the hands of a Los Angeles convenience store owner told the story of a Black 15-year-old’s death and how it later served as a catalyst for the Los Angeles riots.

Allison’s short, instead, reimagines Latasha’s life through the lens of her cousin and best friend.

“This was a young girl with dreams, with aspirations, with a full life ahead of her. Latasha’s story has really been dismissed, it’s really been erased from this archive, and I wanted to rebirth these memories, rebirth this story of who she was,” Allison said.

FULL LIST: 2021 Oscar nominees

“A Love Song for Latasha” is a celebration of a young girl with aspirations to become a lawyer, while also shedding light on the adultification of young Black girls, a problem that comes with severe — and in Harlins’ case fatal — consquences, according to Allison.

“Throughout history, when people look at Black girls and people prescribe adult characteristics to them, people feel threatened by them. These are all things that really are the reason for what happened with Latasha Harlins,” she said.

Mark your calendars: April 25 is Oscar Sunday. Live coverage begins Sunday morning and continues all day with special “On The Red Carpet” coverage leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. After the last award is handed out, stay with “On The Red Carpet” for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information.

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