It is during this time of reflection where we as a country focus the spotlight on the contributions of African Americans on the American culture.
Today we are going to look at their contribution to film, in particular the genre of Blaxploitation.
Blaxploitation, for those of you not in the know, was a genre of film that became popular during the 1970s which featured a predominant black cast (in particular in the roles of the protagonist) intended for an “urban” audience.
While the movies were intended to be seen by predominantly black audiences, their hip funk heavy soundtracks, edgy stories, and strong performances made them cross cultural classics.
So join us as The Weekly Constitutional gives you The Five: Blaxploitation flicks…
***Remember, there will always be one missing… it’s not “The Six”, or “The Seven”… It’s “The Five”. But if you do have one you feel was overlooked, why not link it to the comment section.
5). Shaft in Africa (1973)
The “biggest Shaft of all” finds our hero, Shaft (Richard Roundtree) recruited by a witchdoctor to go to Africa to stop the slave trade. And indeed Shaft does just that “… hitting the Mother country like a Black tornado…” of justice. This one is the third film of the franchise, making it on because its existence singlehandedly drags the two previously released mainstream films into the muddy waters of Blaxploitation.
4). Black Belt Jones
Bruce Lee with an Afro… that was the way Jim “Dragon” Kelly thought he would be known while he was filming what he thought would be his masterpiece. But at some point… I’m pretty sure it was the black ninjas… shit goes sideways and the world gets Black Belt Jones, a ninety minute poorly choreographed fight scene set to a swanky nondescript 70’s soundtrack. The weirdness of this movie makes it watchable (the acting is horrific).
3). Black Caesar
“…It’s a jungle, and it takes a jungle bunny to run it…”
Fred Williamson stars in what many feel is the black Godfather. Sadly, it’s in that vague attempt at comparison that all the similarities lie between the two.
But what Black Caesar lacks in acting, coherent plot, and originality (but that has less to do with the Black Caesar and more to do with the inch deep vastness of the crime drama genre) it more than makes up for in quotability, hyper-violence (all be it cheesy) , and mountains of dead white folk.
2). The Legend of Nigger Charlie
The bad news about this entry is that after hours of searching, all the internet was able to turn up was this 35 second trailer for this western classic (though, if one was so inclined they could watch the whole movie on YouTube in 15 minute chunks). But in those 35 seconds we get all we need to know about this flick:
Nigger Charlie ain’t runnin’ no mo’…
The amazing Fred Williamson stars in this classic about an escaped slave who- along with his band of men- tame the West.
1) Boss Nigger
We really should have called this the Five: Fred Williamson pictures because this som’ bitch was prolific in the Blaxploitation genre… three flicks, one right after the other, all making the list.
And Boss Nigger is his masterpiece.
He’s black… He’s brutal… He’s Boss… Boss Nigger…
Nothing more really needs be said…