Iconography… What’s That!!!

Blaxploitation Iconography refers to the iconic images of Black popular culture in film during the Blaxploitation movement of the 1970‘s.

These iconic images, brought to life by Black actors and actresses, represented Black people expressing their pride while sticking it to the man. These actors and actress’ represented a movement that was taking place in Black communities across America during the 1970’s after the turbulent riots of the 1960’s. Some of these iconic images were developed by Black writers, directors and producers who expressed their views on the social and political atmosphere at the time.

Far be it from me to preach what was right and wrong with the messages that came out of Blaxploitation films, but I grew up in the 1970’s and I remember seeing the pimps, hookers and hustlers of the day while walking the streets of Harlem holding my grandpa’s hand. I remember Nicky Barnes like it was yesterday. I remember the macked out caddies and deuce and a quarter rides of the day and the blocks and blocks of abandoned buildings that plagued the streets of Harlem for decades before gentrification became fashionable. I remember the heroin addicts swaying back and forth in the wind.

Blaxploitation films represented so much, including fashion and a super slick coolness. As I got older during this great decade, I too spent time in the mirror patin’ my fro just right so I could be as cool as the next hip chick. I too had my bell bottoms, platform shoes and a brown suede fringe vest. And like most brothers and sisters of the time I too wanted to get the man for his social, political and unethical injustice.

These icons are so powerful that today’s popular cultural continues to makes reference to Blaxploitation through music, film, commercials, fashion, sports etc.

Blaxploitation Iconography shall forever be cemented into the lives of the children of the 1970’s and every so often be brought back to life by a post modern pop culture that reinvents the past.

Sista ToFunky
The Museum Of UnCut Funk

1 Comment

  • November 20, 2012

    As always, really love the “museum” and all your work. I just had a discussion with my 22 year old employee about some of this stuff, and it is amazing how this era still has resonance. Whenever you feel like having fun with a topic, perhaps you can answer the question raised by the laws of physics raised by some of the movies. Here’s my fb status about the issue (speaking of Pam Grier and the shotgun): “Where did she get the shotgun? One of the intriguing questions about the law of Physics? My young employee is a fan of the iconic Pam Grier look, and I was recalling to her how we always asked the question– where did she hide the shotty in that slinky miniskirt. The only other person to challenge the law of physics like that was Rico Tubbs on “Miami Vice”. Where did he hide his shotty?

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