Celebrating the 40th anniversaries of Blaxploitation films and films that starred Black actors during the Blaxploitation film genre. These films were released from January 1 – December 31, 1975 during the “Greatest Decade Ever” in Black cinematic history.
Thalmus Rasulala was born Jack Chowder on November 15th, 1939. One of the many Black actors from the 1970’s and beyond who never got his rightful due, Thalmus will always be at the top of my list of great performers.
At the peak of his career, Willie Hutch, was a songwriter and producer for Motown Records. It’s his version of the Jackson 5 hit “I’ll Be There,” that many a funkateer came to know his sound for. In 1973, Hutch wrote the soundtrack for the FUNKALICIOUS flick “The Mack.” The album included the title track and the hit “Brothers Gonna Work It Out.”
Actress and producer Sheila Elaine Frazier was born on November 13, 1948 in the Bronx, New York to Dorothy Dennis and Eugene Cole Frazier. Frazier grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City until the age of ten, when she moved with her mother to Englewood, New Jersey.
Frankie Crocker, the New York radio personality imbued the R&B format with a wide-reaching musical palette that includes music from just about every genre. Born in Buffalo, NY, Crocker began his radio career at Williamsville, NY, station WUFO, while studying Pre law. His other stints include other N.Y. radio stations WWRL and Top 40 station WMCA. Becoming a program director at WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM in the early 1970s, Crocker began to shape an innovative and influential radio format that would become known as progressive R&B while garnering the top spot in the ratings. His timing was perfect as a new kind of R&B station was beginning to spring up on the FM dial around the country.
Below is a short called “Trek Turner”, a remix of the cartoon version featuring Lieutenant Uhura from the Star Trek animated series, dubbed over with Nichelle Nichols’ dialogue from the 1974 blaxploitation film “Truck Turner”. Animated or live action, that’s one Bad Ass Bitch!
Palestine native Ralph Bakshi was raised in Brooklyn, New York. A talented artist, Bakshi worked at the Terrytoons animation studio, directed episodes of Deputy Dawg and James Hound and worked on the Hekyll and Jekyll and Mighty Mouse cartoons. In 1965, he put together The Mighty Heroes “superhero” TV cartoon series, featuring some of the most ridiculous superguys in history: Tornado Man, Cuckooman, Ropeman, Strongman, and Diaper Baby. Bakshi’s also worked on the Spiderman series.
The status of Antonio Fargas is legendary. Since his initiation into the world of film at the age of fourteen, when his exceptional interpretative skills led to a role in Shirley Clark’s Cool World, he has been noted for the unforgettable characters he creates, most famously through his role as the incorrigible and loveable ‘Huggy Bear’ in TV’s Starsky & Hutch.