SirReal Photography presents
A genre of American film of the 1970s featuring African-American actors in lead roles and often having antiestablishment plots, frequently criticized for stereotypical characterization and glorification of violence.
Gordon Parks described his blaxploitation projects as “a picture people go to see because they want to see the black guy winning.” Being a late 80’s baby, I always found it quite difficult to understand the Black community’s attraction to blaxploitation films let alone the term. But growing as a Black artist has allowed me to look back at this once popular art form with a third eye.
As I watch clips, and do a bit of reading on the subject, I try to place myself as a viewer in that era. Often times when I hear my elders speak on the media of their day, they mention that they just were excited to see ANY Black people on television. But the characters of Blaxploitation films weren’t just ANY Black people. They were heros and heroines. Fighting for justice and in some cases sticking it to “The Man”.
Foxy Brown was “a chick with drive who don’t take no jive” who sometimes used her sex appeal as a way to get closer to her enemies and make them her victims. Critics may find the nudity unnecessary but let’s compare it to films/videos we have today that consistently flood our screens with arbitrary and tactless skin that does nothing to contribute to any plot or direction. In the past I believe that we allow the arts and media to get away with certain things given the circumstances of the times. But as time moves forward, so should we.
This is the first of possibly many installments looking back at when artists with a purpose were actually the most popular and not the other way around. blaxploitation
- Dex R. Jones
Photos by Dexter R. Jones
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