In a welcome turn of events, one of the most compelling love stories to play out on the small screen this year can be found within a gritty new crime drama.
The famed American mob boss and bookmaker, whose real name was was Ellsworth Raymond Johnson but was nicknamed ‘bumpy’ due to the bumps on the back of his head, led an illustrious criminal career and was even arrested more than 40 times while also standing up for local injustices.
Take a look at the trailer for Godfather of Harlem, coming only to Stan. Post continues after video.
Godfather of Harlem is inspired by real-life events that took place in the early 1960s, and kicks off when Johnson returns home from ten years in prison to find the neighbourhood of Harlem, that he once ruled, in complete shambles and now controlled by the Italian mob.
Caught up in the midst of this on-the-edge-of-explosion mob war is Stella Gigante, daughter of Vincent “The Chin” Gigante (Vincent D’Onofrio), a prominent figure in the New York Italian-American mob.
Stella has fallen in love with a young African-American musician named Teddy Greene (Kelvin Harrison Jr) but is forced to keep the relationship a secret not just from her family, but from the entire neighbourhood.
It’s a situation that Stella’s portrayer, Australian actress Lucy Fry, describes as a forbidden love story that paints an important picture of what life was really like in 1960s Harlem.
“Stella is in this Romeo and Juliet style relationship,” the 27-year-old actress told Mamamia.
“In the series, this couple are really fighting for their relationship and trying to figure out how they can make their love work in a world that does not accept them.
“A lot of the people in the industry I know in and around New York are in interracial relationships or are the children of interracial relationships and the way they speak about it now does show how far we have come. But then at the same time, it’s still such an important to story to tell that is still hugely relevant.
“It was really difficult to shoot some of the scenes in this show because it’s confronting to physically act out how these relationships were looked at in 1963.”