Black Beach White Beach: Myrtle Beach Still Divided

Feb 8, 2018

Each Memorial Day weekend hundreds of thousands of African-American motorcyclists gather at Myrtle Beach for what is affectionately called “Black Bike Week.” The event brings in more than $40 million to the greater Myrtle Beach area.

Yet in 2014, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the event to be halted. Local police have also repeatedly set up a 23-mile traffic loop to control the crowd. In seeming contrast, the beach welcomes bikers with open arms for the annual Harley event, which takes place the week before.

Filmmaker Ricky Kelly joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his documentary “Black Beach/White Beach: A Tale of Two Beaches.” It explores the history of Atlantic Beach Bike Festival, aka “Black Bike Week,” and why one of the Myrtle Beach motorcycle events is celebrated and the other is monitored by the NAACP. 

The film screens at the Hayti Heritage Film Festival in Durham on Friday, Feb. 16. It will also be screened at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Sunday, Feb. 18.