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Is Shaft really Blaxploitation? (film article)

Posted on April 24, 2009 at 6:25 AM

I mean from today's point of view it just seemed like a generic cop movie. Sure, there were a few undertones of racism, and the main character was black, but there was nothing particularly exploitative about it; no gratuitous sex or violence. Plus it had a solid script; it was funny, and the characters were likable. I thought it was great. So what is blaxpoitation? It can’t simply be the presence of African-american protagonists. The Jeffersons and Claudine hardly fall under the “Wham! Bam! Pam!” phase of 1970s Grindhouse cinema.

It’s also important to distinguish between what black film-makers were creating early in the decade, and formulaic, stereo-type driven trash Hollywood executives had turned it into years later. Perhaps it’s the fact that it was directed, starred and was targeted at African-American audiences, and represents a cool, street-smart cat, triumphing over whitey; that and the funky beats of Isaac Hayes. What are you guys thoughts?

Categories: ARTICLES, Cinema

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