The popular image of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) consists of White men adorned in tattoos and leather, riding Harleys into the sunset and committing crimes—drug trafficking, murder—on behalf of their club.
Writers Elgin James (“Little Birds”) and Kurt Sutter (“The Shield”) challenge this image and draw on the history of Latinx OMGs for “Mayans M.C.,” the new action series they co-created for FX. The spinoff of Sutter’s “Sons of Anarchy” premieres tonight (September 4).
— Mayans MC (@MayansFX) September 2, 2018
The series follows a chapter of the titular motorcycle club on the California-Mexico border. J.D. Pardo (“East Los High”) portrays Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a formerly incarcerated prospective member who must balance his allegiance to the club with his allegiance to his father (Edward James Olmos, “Battlestar Galactica”).
Sutter first introduced the Mayans crew as a rival to the largely White Sons of Anarchy. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he, James (who is of African-American, Dominican and White ancestry) and the writers’ room—which is made up predominantly of people of color—drew on the history of real Latinx OMGs.
James and Sutter told The Associated Press that the show also takes inspiration from James’ own experiences with incarceration and violent subcultures. James was previously a leader of Friends Stand United, an anti-racist, anti-drug organization that brawled with White supremacists and drug dealers at hardcore shows during the ’80s and ’90s.
“I do know that I have these stories that I have to tell,” James said of his traumatic past to Variety and other outlets during the Television Critics Association summer press tour last month. “I have this damage inside me that I have to get out. And I don’t want any nice people who are worried about what I’m going to do for society to tell me I can’t tell my story.”
Check out the first official “Mayans M.C.” trailer before catching the series premiere on FX at 10 p.m. EDT tonight.