Neo-Blaxploitation is on the rise and you should be excited about it

Blaxploitation films have a complicated place in film history. Some feel the genre perpetuates Black Lives Matter, while others love it for its high camp, big hair, and random kung fu fights. Regardless of previous movie reviews, audiences are now graced with neo-Blaxploitation movies such as: Dolemite is my name And Black dynamite. with the upcoming release of They cloned Tyrone And The Outlaw Johnny Black neo-Blaxploitation is having a moment and its timing can’t be perfect.


Blaxploitation: The Origins

Melvin Van Peebles on Sweetback's Baadassss song

When the word Blaxploitation comes to mind, images full of big hair, stylish clothes, and other things with ’70s style. But what is Blaxploitation, exactly? The dictionary defines the genre as, “a term for a type of film, made especially in the 1970s, which mainly features black actors and is aimed at a black audience.” This definition is a broad one, because there are many more intricacies that define what Blaxploitation is. Blaxploitation films were made for black people, by black people. At a time when Hollywood was far more white than it is today, black Americans were hungry to see themselves on screen in an empowering way. One man in particular, Melvin Van PeeblesSick to see slaves and servants stereotypes, and decided to make a change.

In 1971 Van Peebles wrote, directed, co-produced, scored (alongside the iconic group Earth, wind, and fire), and edited what is considered the first Blaxploitation film ever, Sweetback’s Baadasss song. The film tells the story of Sweet Sweetback, a boy who grew up in a brothel, and was framed by the police as an adult. The film received mixed reviews due to its title and “glorification of rape.” But it is also seen as the first opportunity to root for a hero who happens to be a black man asserting his power. It was popular, and led to many of the beloved Blaxploitation films we enjoy today, such as Shaft, Foxy Brown, and of course, Super Fly. The type with the stars coming out. Pam Grier, Richard Roundtreeand football players become actors, Jim Brown.

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The Child of Blaxploitation: New Black Realism and Parody in the 90s

Zelda Harris, Alfre Woodard, and Chris Knowings in Crooklyn
Image via Universal Pictures

The popularity of Blaxploitation films fell as quickly as it rose; This is mainly due to respectability politics that consider the film to be too exploitative and portray a negative image of black people. The genre changes, and in the late 80s and early 90s, directors such as: Huang Li And John Singleton gave true stories to black audiences with vivid backdrops, reflecting the beauty and harsh realities of black life. Movies like Poetic justice, CrooklinAnd Boyz and the Hood Easily become a classic, with Spike Lee’s Do the right thing One of the few New Black Realism films that crossed the racial lines of the audience. The early 2000s gave us a new Blaxploitation film in the form of a parody, namely Undercover brother And Pootie Tang. These films were not well received by most audiences, but have become beloved classics over the years.

Present and Future: Neo-Blaxploitation

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is my name
Image via Netflix

In 2009, a movie called Black dynamite was released. The film was written by actors and martial artists Michael Jai is white, who plays the title role, and is one of the most perfect Blaxploitation parodies made in recent years. The story is a combination of almost every major Blaxploitation movie, from catchphrases, random science fiction storylines, to kung fu fights with prostitutes. It also does a good job of mocking the low quality of the film itself, with over-the-top and over-the-top acting, deliberate mistakes like noise entering the frame, and reusing action sequences like a car falling off a cliff. Its release was quiet, but the film quickly picked up steam and became popular enough to lead to a spin-off show on Adult Swim.

Neo-Blaxploitation films such as Black dynamite It has its own clever style and plays with what Blaxploitation is supposed to be, as well as what it could be. Another great example of this is Dolemite is my nameStarring by Eddie Murphywhich follows the story of the comedian turned actor Rudy Ray Moore made his first film, Dolemite. real movie, DolemiteIs one of the many that are known for being bad so it’s good, and Dolemite is my name Be sure to reveal that aspect of it.

In recent years, the growth of diversity in Hollywood has also led to the rise of Neo-Blaxploition films. Movies like The Harder they fall And the other side of the West to come Yes Illegal Johnny Black is proof that the category is continuing to expand and grow. Film makers like Riley shoes, Jeymes SamuelAnd Nia DeCosta Blended art forms into science fiction, afro surrealism, and horror. This kind of creativity bodes well for the future of Black film and film in general, and is exactly why more people need to recognize it.

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