Was there a better decade for black films than the 1970’s, when the Blaxploitation era was in full effect?
Though it was a controversial era for African-Americans, Blaxploitation cinema was a creatively rich period that broke down racial barriers for many black actors and filmmakers. Names like Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier, and Melvin Van Peebles became household names and showed an empowered side to African-American lives. Though the NAACP would strongly oppose the images depicted in many Blaxploitation films, if it wasn’t for them, the idea of a black superhero might not have ever existed.
1. The films showed Hollywood the power of the Black dollar at the box office and paved the way for a generation of black filmmakers and films with all black casts.
2. Classic slang words and phrases like, “Mack”, “cold blooded”, and “solid”.
3. The Man was always white.
4. The best soundtracks.
5. “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack
6. “Super Fly” by Curtis Mayfield
7. Unapologetic use of white ethnic slurs like the word “honky”
8. Athletes turned actors, and good ones, e.g. Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Bernie Casey
9. Gordon Parks, director of Shaft and the sequels, Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft In Africa
10. Films set in black cities like Oakland (Hit Man); Detroit (Detroit 9000); Houston (Sugar Hill)
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