Fast and Furious: How the Franchise Shifted Its Focus After Tokyo Drift

Street racing had been an illegal underground sport for quite some time before its popularity began to rise in the ’90s. When the NYPD started to have more and more problems with racers taking over the streets, Ken Li, a reporter at the New York Daily News, felt like there was a story to tell. He met with Rafael Esteves, one of the most prominent racers on the East Coast at the time, and after getting to know how and why he chose such a fast-paced and dangerous life, Li was able to recreate the racing world on paper. His article, “Racer X,” was published in VIBE‘s May 1998 issue, and shortly after, it became the inspiration for the film that most people know as The Fast and the Furious, which birthed the Fast and Furious franchise.

​ You likely know the Fast & Furious saga is more than just fast cars and heists, but did you know there was a whole shift in focus after Tokyo Drift? 

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