It’s A Love Thang!
I LOVE BLAXPLOITATION!!!
That’s right, BLAXPLOITATION, I love it and I am not ashamed to admit it!
The 1970’s in general and 1970’s Black culture specifically “are hot” again. As far as I am concerned, this very funky decade never really stopped being hot, it has just taken the rest of the world some time to catch up and show some respect.
1970’s funk is everywhere, such as the proliferation of 1970’s funk and r&b music used in advertising and as samples in hip hop music, the resurgence of a funky sense of style with afros, cornrows and throwback fashions and the pimped out attitude and swagger that is even being shown by our new Black, Hip, Funky President. Now just where do you think all of his funkiness came from…"
The U.S. Digs Blaxploitation!
The first Blaxploitaion film I saw was Foxy Brown. I remember begging my step father to take me to see Foxy Brown. Neither of us knew to content of the film and clearly it was not for a 12 year old to view but I had been such a huge Pam Grier fan.
East Germany Digs Blaxploitation!
Many U.S. movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s arrived in East German theaters for the first time after 1947. During the Blaxploitation film explosion of the 1970‘s, movies took 2 to 3 years on average after the U.S. release to make it into East German theaters.
France Digs Blaxploitation!
The arrival of American sound films at first created panic among the European countries who immediately resisted the influx of US films. The French public didn’t accept films in other languages, the film industry tried to ignore them and the government strengthened censorship and tariff laws and stopped ‘talkies’ from being shown in France for a period of time.
Italy Digs Blaxploitation!
The first presentation of film in Italy was in February of 1896 by Vittorio Calcina at the Ospedale di Carita in Turin. Blaxploitation Films made their debut in Italy during the mid 1970’s. As with most international releases of American films, each film would screen a few years after the American release.
Japan Digs Blaxploitation!
The Japanese have always had a fondness for Black culture. Blaxploitation films were a huge hit in Japan and have continued to be, so much so, that one of the largest collections of Blaxploitation memorabilia is owned by a Japanese man. He has catalogued his collection in a book called The Soul of Black Movie!
Poland Digs Blaxploitation!
American films have always been watched by the Poles, not only because of their quality but also due to the role that the U.S. played in the consciousness of Polish citizens. Many went to see American movies to become acquainted with the country.
During the 1970’s, Blaxploitation moved into the horror category with a number of movies, made for Blacks, staring Blacks. One of the most important actors from this period was William Marshall. He starred as Blacula, a Black version of Dracula in two movies, Blacula and Scream, Blacula, Scream.
1973 marked the beginning of the one-two combination of Blaxploitation and Kung Fu. It happened when taekwondo champion Jim Kelly appeared in Bruce Lee’s film Enter the Dragon. Kelly proved to be a popular character actor who would sign with Warner Brothers for a few more action films, thus creating the first crossing over of these two prolific genres.
From 1970 to 1976, during the height of the Blaxploitation era, there were fourteen westerns made for public consumption. Some of these films never made it to a national audience and others haven’t been seen since their release. There were a few films that found box office success and were critically acclaimed by some of the toughest film critics.
Blaxploitation meets urban culture.
Hip And Happening Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Cartoon Network
Adult Swim’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” series has a character called ‘Boxy Brown’ (A play on Foxy Brown, a lead character in another blaxploitation film).
New York Funkin’ City And Harlem, USA
As you know, I love Blaxploitation. What I dig most about these films is that a number of them took place in NYC. With all the jive-talking, gun-toting, leather-wearing, cocaine and heroin sniffin’ pimps, not to mention the outrageous outfits, cars and of course the women, all of these films had a funky inner-city vibe that was quite campy and extremely cheesy. I JUST LOVE IT!!!
The Women of Blaxploitation
The Black Movie Boom of the 1970’s created jobs for young Black actresses and introduced new talents such as Pam Grier, Vonetta McGee, Gloria Henry, Tamara Dobson, Judy Pace, Esther Anderson, Paula Kelly, Carol Speed, Lisa Moore, Rosalind Cash, Jaki Demar, Rosalind Miles, Kathy Imrie, Shelia Frazier and Brenda Skyes.