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part four

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Part Three

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I WAS THERE & I SAW THE WHOLE THANG - PART FOUR
Anpu Ankhamen from Saint Louis, Missouri

PART FOUR - BLAXPLOITATION ??? SAYS WHO ????
Blaxploitation ???
Says who ???
What ???
Where ???
When ???
How ???

By the time I ETSed (Expired Time of Service) from the United States Army in October 1978, the Black-action-movie-genre was a thing of the past & a new word, Blaxploitation, had been coined into the English language.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word was coined in 1972 & it is a blend of the alteration of blacks + exploitation. Merriam-Webster defines it as the exploitation of blacks by producers of black-oriented films.

In retrospect, as I lived through the phenomena, I never heard the word kicked around the movie theaters in Saint Louis, Missouri. Even though my direct, peripheral contact with the genre ended at the end of September 1973; I was indirectly in contact between 1973-1975 via my childhood best friend & fellow 'Vice Lord' who had been promoted to Head Usher. My bloodbrother took me to work with him & gave me the 411 about the movies & everything noteworthy happening in the STL during my infrequent, periodic vacations ... before he joined the United States Air Force & shipping out to Hawaii where he married an exotic Hula girl before importing her back to STL.

In one of his rundowns during 1975 he explained that our beloved Black action movies were now being labelled as Blaxploitation movies by the mysterious 'They' whom I assumed were conservative Whites.

Then bourgeoisie, Uncle Tom organizations such as the National Association of Colored People (NAACP) & the Urban League began mimicking their White puppetmasters like little parrots & kissing their arses to keep the crumbs falling from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. He also related that the movies were being called blaxploitation because they exploited blacks.

I remember saying, "WHAT!?!" "DDDDDuuuuhhhhhhh, how are black people being exploited. Before these movies blacks had nothing, except Sidney Poitier & maybe Bill Cosby with 'I Spy' on television? Niggas ain't never seen no shit like this before in life!" I also remember the NAACP & the Urban League waging campaigns pontificating on the evil images portrayed on the big screen depicting all Blacks as pimps, players, hustlers, & hos & that all self-respecting, good 'colored' folk should distance themselves from those socially deviant, ghetto niggers.

On the other hand, I read comments from Gordon Parks & other black actors such as William Marshall rebutting these holier-than-thou, bourgeoisie, hyper-critical, comments stating that because of the black-action-movie-genre more black actors & actresses won starting roles on the big screen in Hollywood than any other time in history, also, this genre gave Hollywood a badly needed hotshot in the arm at a time of low box office sales.

Personally, I believe conservatives & their lackeys gave such a loud public outcry & added a new word to the English language because one constant thread which ran through each & every blaxploitation movie was the act of blacks getting over on the 'Man' or killing white people on the screen.

Question: What was the first movie on the big screen that showed a black man killing a white man????????????????????????????????????????

Hint: I betcha it was not that good colored actor named Sidney .... nor Cosby.

So, the question remains, "Who was exploited?"

It would be hard to believe those once obscure & unemployed black performers thought they were exploited ... pimped on, maybe ... but that is a different story ... the black community who cast their dollar votes at the box office in the true spirit of capitalism because Hollywood was giving them what they wanted to pay for?

Of course, many terrible, horrible, copy-cat B-movies such as the 'Man With Two Heads' showed up, but the black community showed their disdain by withholding their dollars. The point is that during that period the black community had a chance to see themselves starring in movies in a wide variety of roles when before no such movies existed.

After my return from the Army there was a severe drought until the re-emergence of this genre with the making of 'I'm Gonna Get You Sucka' (in my opinion). As proof, besides my memory because I was there & I saw the whole thing; please check the chronological listing of black movies at www.blaxploitation.com ... where you should notice that after 1977 the number of black movies dropped next to nothing. What happened to all the black movie stars afterwards?

NEXT: THE NEW BLAXPLOITATION MOVIE EXPLOSION


© Copyright 1999
Anpu Ankhamen from Saint Louis, Missouri


We would like to thank Anpu and the Mothership
falettin us publish the whole thang here...
Stay tuned for the next parts...

All site contents ©1998 blaxploitation.com. The author has asserted his moral rights. Cover scans, album reviews, all other text content and/or pictures may only be used by prior permission of the.man@blaxploitation.com. But what the hell, I'm a nice guy, so drop me a line!