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Epoch Cinema Documentary Review: ‘Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker’

Updated: Dec 10, 2022


After a brief opening, Jabari Hayes introduces himself as the credits roll, saying that he’s the proud father to a 7th-grade honor roll student and husband to a wife who is beautiful “inside-and-out.” You can sense by the calm timbre of his voice that he’s a cool customer.

The narrator of “Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker” then sets the backdrop, relating how the crack epidemic came about.

Powdered cocaine was the drug of choice in the 1970s. Drug dealers began converting it into crack cocaine in the 1980s. By the mid-eighties, the crack cocaine epidemic had swept through the United States and destroyed many lives, particularly in low-income neighborhoods.

Hayes describes his upbringing during the 1980s in the projects of Brooklyn, New York, as being particularly brutal. Interestingly, he describes the multiple heavy metal doors that residents of the projects had to go through to get to their apartments. He likened the loud “clink” of the doors shutting behind them to the sound prison doors make when they close.

To him, it was as if the projects were designed to prepare low-income people for prison.

Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker” (Laconic Production)

Hayes lived with his mother, who became addicted to crack. Sometimes, he says, he wouldn’t know where she was—if she was out trying to buy more drugs or if she’d been arrested. It was a tough upbringing, especially for children.

However, the young man was a natural athlete and was particularly gifted as a track runner. He earned a scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and began coaching track and field there. He and his friends also started working at a valet service. When it seemed that they weren’t making enough money, Hayes started his own valet service, and eventually, a limousine business.

As the film tells it, friends noticed that Hayes seemed to be making more money than he should be, even as the owner of two businesses. Around the same time, a drug dealer related to Hayes began to take Hayes and his friends out for extravagant dinners and parties. His track and field mentor could sense that something was amiss, and warned Hayes that any type of illegal activity wouldn’t be tolerated by Morehouse.

One night, while performing a gig, Hayes saw a man he knew. The man was impressed with the young business owner’s charisma and expensive limousine, so he told Hayes that he “might have something for you,” which Hayes interpreted—correctly, as it turned out—as an offering to get involved in some criminal activity.

One of several engagingly reenacted scenes from Jabari Hayes’ story, in “Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker” (Laconic Production)

Soon, Hayes says he was contacted by the Black Mafia Family (BMF). The BMF wanted him to use his limos to transport drugs clandestinely to different states. Since the BMF had to ship large quantities of drugs to far-off locations, it needed drivers to transport them.

The leadership of the BMF was constantly innovating. Hayes represented a new strategy for them.

The drivers BMF employed were at a disadvantage because they looked like drug dealers. Hayes, on the other hand, looked prim and proper in his limo attire, and carried himself with class. Therefore, he was likely to avoid unwanted attention from the authorities.

Hayes figured it was an offer he couldn’t pass up. He also cites the feeling of brotherhood with members of BMF as the most attractive part of his illicit relations with them. As he puts it in the film, “you’ve got a hundred men that are ready to die for you … it’s intoxicating.”

Hayes would go on to transport many shipments of drugs throughout the country. He was largely able to avoid detection by authorities but would get pulled over from time to time. Because of his squeaky-clean appearance, educated diction, and charming personality, time and again he would manage to talk his way out of trouble.

But his luck would eventually run out.

This is the type of slow-burn documentary that I always enjoy. It takes its time introducing the various characters involved in the subject matter and clearly illustrates both the situations and environments that Hayes (and sometimes his friends and associates) found themselves in.

Jabari Hayes was remarkably successful at avoiding detection. But his luck would eventually run out. (Laconic Production)

The film’s highly-informative interviews are another big plus. Clear monologues are enhanced by equally clear audio, so I was never scratching my head and wondering what people were talking about.

Some accounts are reenacted; they usually come off as surreal. They are even comical in some instances, such as Hayes’ harrowing accounts of being pulled over by cops and charming them so well that he’d have them laughing and engaging in bouts of mutual back-slapping.

Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker” on EpochTV may have a slow start, but give it a chance and it will grow on you. It’s an interesting account of one man’s illicit activities and eventual evolution into a better person.

Watch “Miles in the Life: The Story of a BMF Drug Trafficker” on Epoch Cinema here.

Directors: Shaun Mathis, Jemonique Miller Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes MPAA Rating: Not Rated Release Date: Mar. 31, 2017 Rated: 3.5 stars out of 5

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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