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2016 – Breakout Session #5: Blaxploitation Movies and Minorities in U.S. Cinema

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Our next breakout session was focused on films that fall under the category of Blaxploitation Cinema. Afterwards I tried to reveal some connections between the organization of the American mainstream film business and how women, racial minorities and transgender people have been/are being portrayed in U.S. cinema. Although eventually Blaxploitation films were strongly opposed by African-Americans because of the rather frequent negative stereotyping of their protagonists as gangsters (and therefore possibly tarnishing the image of African-Americans in society in general), they helped African-American talent (actors, directors, composers etc.) to emerge and become an established part of the U.S. film industry!

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87 responses to “2016 – Breakout Session #5: Blaxploitation Movies and Minorities in U.S. Cinema

  1. postnroast ⋅

    Blaxploitation, another market. The niche market of Blaxploitation is arguably the most relevant when valuing it against empowerment. The African-American community in this market was shown for the first time in the film light. But the ambiguity of the question lies, with was this a good portrayal of the African-American community as a whole ? While I can’t imagine a place where white people have never interacted with another race, I’m sure it exist. The film portrayal of African-Americans in film leaned towards aggression. Many would think that people don’t become cultured from watching films, but it happens. They sometimes don’t serve just as entertainment for the audience. Therefore one could see the development of stereotypes, of a particular race form. Although many African-americans were cast as either a gangster, pimp or other vigilante figure. They were known for not obeying the law in these films, and taking things into there own hands. Does that seem like an accurate portrayal of an entire race to you? No, thus the argument arises, was it enough just to make it on film through a portrayal of violence. The Idea settles through an example like such; The monopoly of the film community is ran and founded by the “white-man” in a time of racism, you could present people with two directors and the odds stack against the minority. That being said, In an example like a white ruled society such as film, giving any help to an African-American director or actor looks slim. CEO production companies work kinda like royalty, the crown passes on through the family. But one could argue that business works in such a sense, where someone is less hesitant to offer a position to family rather than some-one with higher qualifications, just on the idea of family basis. This idea threads true to the notion of racism, in a time of racism the CEO would more likely offer a director money if he where Caucasian rather than if he was African-American regardless of the qualifications. The same notion happens when casting roles, the Caucasian will receive a role pertaining to the social stigma of his race, over an African-American who could better fit the social stereotype of violence. The fact being that the monopoly of such businesses oppress those who do not have the same opportunities, as a monopoly can govern with conservative views.

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    • postnroast ⋅

      in a time of more racism***
      My apologies, racism isn’t over. Just wanted to make that extremely clear.

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      • shmoo ⋅

        Yes that is extremely clear haha. I believe these films were also a device used to perpetuate and spread racism, which is while we deal with it today with such severity. Just like how Kristen Stewart or Scarlette Johanson take the place of POC, they end up setting a “standard” for all women. (This is not just these two actresses fault, alone.) young girls grow up thinking they must be skinny, sexy and white to be the “standard” and men look at these women and then look at real women and expect the same thing. There has been tons of body image campaigning due to these films, so why wasn’t there the same thing for these blaxploitation films? Because they aren’t white. Racism already existed in this world and many people already believed the stereotypes in these films to be true. The fact that nobody stood up for them meant that now we have a total misjudgment and misrepresentation for African Americans, and the (untrue) argument for this is, “if it’s in the media it must be true.” Well, it’s not.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      I think that these are all good factors when brought up in juxtaposition with the examples that were given with the amount of white males in the top positions of the film industry. It’s hard to ignore this type of bias that can occur when this type of majority exists…and it’s easy to marginalize the “out-group” for financial gain when these types of disproportions exist…even in the context of the film industry this can be damaging.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I totally agreed with what you are saying. As we learned in class, the movie industry in the United States is a huge monopoly, or you could say control by the big six. They owned up to over 90% of the mainstream distribution if I remember correctly. Like you said, I also believe that it is impossible for a monopoly which were created by white men to change their way of thinking and start to give the minorities chances in the business. I never thought about how stereotyping in a movie could potentially influence how people think of the people presented in these exploitation films. People who had little knowledge about the race presented in the film will most likely to assume what they saw is true. It’s sad but I don’t think there is much we can do to help this situation.

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      • dinerbears ⋅

        I agree what you said that movie industry in the united state is huge monopoly and control by big six. i also agree with you point out that monopoly created by white men to change their way of thinking and start to give the minorities chances in the business. i think in the America most of the director still are white people and are race people did not take too much place in the movie industry so it is easy to make people think this way because those issue it might make other race people hard to fit in the social role and make other problem. yea just like you said people cannot do anything in this kind of situation.

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  2. pizzaboy ⋅

    Blaxploitation films can be such a tricky topic because while they did perpetuate and hyperbolize a lot of negative stereotypes and racial attributions…they’re done in a way that is undeniably enjoyable. It’s the same as with what is said towards general race relations where an identity…although either negative or generalizing in nature is still an identity for a group of people that is either under represented or even not represented at all. It is interesting to note the music used in a lot of the Blaxploutation films are considered classics of certain funk and r&b pioneers…as was noted with Curtis Mayfield.

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  3. clintrump ⋅

    Blaxpliotation films that were shown in class all had one common theme of the funky disco beats from the 1970’s of when they began producing this genre. Even thought the music didn’t really go with the violence that was portrayed in the films I think the music gave continuity and context to this type of film in a historical context. Also I noticed in Black Belt Jones that the main character had a mad looking afro, and bell bottoms that are stylistically symbolical of that era. I found it interesting that an African American replaced the typical stereotype of casting an Asian male as a karate master. Also, being a huge UFC fan one of my favorite fighters is Jon Jones, and I can’t help but wonder if watching this film as a kid inspired him? I can see how later on some mainstream Caucasian film directors would want to become involved in this genre because of its success. Even though these films seem to play off of stereotypes it seems that they are more positive stereotypes than negative with the two films screened in class.

    When discussing minorities in cinema I understood the concepts of “Yellow Facing”, “Minority Facing”, but I don’t fully understand “Trans Facing”? For instance Bruce Jenner is not Caitlin Jenner and considered to be Trans. But what is the official definition of transgender? Guys dressed in drag wearing makeup and dressing like a woman are close to Caitlin Jenner besides the facial reconstruction surgery… but both guys in drag and Caitlin have male reproductive organs. Is Bruce Trans Facing as Caitlin Jenner? This issue seems a little silly to me and I don’t think “Trans Facing” is legit.

    I think some actors in Hollywood see dressing up as a woman to make some extra money and get attention for a controversial role rather than stealing someone else’s opportunity. Also there are many big people in Hollywood like Dave Chapelle who refuses to take these roles because it is an emasculation of being a man. This is the interview on Oprah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb1WUVAtseU I say let the people who claim to be transgender have an opportunity to act, or direct in Hollywood but I don’t think this is a legit issue. I’m curious to hear what other people think of “Trans Facing”.

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    • postnroast ⋅

      well, hm, I understand a bit of what you’re saying. Trans-facing is a stereotype derivative of homosexuality. Because not all, during this time, but some people in the gay community, identified as a female; due to fear driven by a society, who would judge such a person, drove many to keep secret the desire of being a man who wanted to be a woman. Surely, believed by the social stigma, the concept of trans-facing isn’t specifically attacking the transgender community, but the gay community. As so, the evolution of these phases grouped the two identities together because they were just identified as being homosexual. The gay community essentially became a haven forced by the bigger community for those who are men and exercised urges related to the gay stereotype, although the relevancy of one to the other could be argued, this was the stereotype of the time. Existing proof would be, that all gay men do not want to be women. But hatefully so, the community grouped them together of one in the same. e.g all “Spanish” are “Mexicans” stereotype; which basically made one relation and then grouped minorities. Thus trans-facing was not an issue, a tangible idea, in the public eye, even as it was proven existent in the gay community. The dissociation between homosexual and transgender is highlighted later in time. And could be considered a retrospective issue in societies standards, with the rise of empowerment in the transgender community.

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    • Nox ⋅

      Response to clintrump:

      Define what a positive stereotype is. The stereotypes that were enforced through blaxploitation films were not positive in the long run, and black actors had no power over how they were portrayed, so they were forced to take these roles if they wanted to get into Hollywood.

      As far as Trans-Facing goes, it is just as legitimate as blackface, yellowface, etc. You are donning a person’s identity when you yourself are not of that ethnicity/background. Cross dressing is not the same as being trans. Drag Queens are not trans women, they’re men who express themselves through larger than life personas.

      It’s disrespectful to ask if “Bruce is trans-facing Caitlin Jenner” because Bruce no longer exists. Also, what reproductive organs someone has, whether they get surgery or not, is none of your business. If someone tells you they identify as a woman, you should have the decency to respect their wishes and use she/her instead of he/him.

      It really isn’t a difficult concept to understand. Regardless of whether or not Hollywood actors see portraying trans characters a way to make more money, it still blocks out opportunities for real trans people who know the experience and can portray it authentically, rather than letting straight white men continue to falsely represent every minority group in Hollywood.

      As far as Dave Chapelle goes, the “emasculation” of a man is subjective. If you feel emasculated because another man chooses to cross-dress or that transgender people exist, your masculinity probably wasn’t very strong to begin with.

      You say you don’t think it’s a legit issue, after we just saw that in 2014 there was not a single film that casted trans actors, and trans people make up 0.4% of Hollywood. That seems like a major issue to me. You can’t say trans people should be able to succeed in Hollywood, while simultaneously ridiculing them and their experience in the same piece of writing. If trans people are going to be represented in Hollywood, straight white men are going to have to stop belittling their existence under the guise of “I’ll make more money.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • clintrump ⋅

        Response to Nox,

        I’m assuming you’re not a straight person by your response because most straight males don’t like to cross dress like Dave Chappelle and we shouldn’t because it’s strange from our perspective. Chose to do whatever you want but don’t tell others how to express their own sexuality. Telling a straight man that doesn’t feel comfortable with dressing like a woman is “not strong” is a silly statement to make. Successful men that don’t “sell out” to the BS Hollywood agenda feel this way about the emasculation of male culture. If you read my statement and actually watched the video Dave was talking how a Hollywood producer was pressuring him into something he didn’t want to do and that’s wrong! I’m glad that Dave stood up to them and said no in the end. In fact many extreme liberals like you feel threatened with strong expression of manhood liking guns, fast cars, fighting, football, extreme sports, playboy models, eating meat, or any other expressions of masculinity. I’m not sorry Nox, just keep on hating, wining, and complaining maybe your silly narrow minded world of ideas will come true but I highly doubt it. I’ll just keep on telling the truth about the other side of reality that you can’t accept.

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      • postnroast ⋅

        Intellectual BURN! haha

        I agree with Nox.

        Although, the idea exist that each person can have a perspective of their own. Morally there is a universal standard of kindness, respect and equality as a living breathing human with cognitive features. To state that anyone can have their own ideals is obvious. To educate oneself is to open ones mind and acknowledge differences that exist, while opposing anything that challenges the universal moral standard for a human. Conditioning is much like tradition, in which the family has beliefs and passes them through to their offspring, whether directly or indirectly. These ideas are instilled and should be compared and debunked with actual fairness not pride. The message is, understanding that oppressing anyone is wrong and the first step to being right.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      Funny that I would focus in on the small comment about the music…but I personally I feel that the music itself is what gives the movies the strongest risidual connection to culture and is actually quite vital to the films themselves. As was stated in class…the music itself was in a big way…much more well-received than the films themselves and is what still exists in our culture today. I don’t think these films would have really worked without the groovy music of the likes of Curtis Mayfield and other funk artists.

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      • Nox ⋅

        Response to Clintrump:

        Let’s get one thing straight. You backed out of our prior conversation because you were uninformed and made a fool of yourself speaking on issues you had zero knowledge about. If you’re such a macho man who likes guns and drinking and why did you put your tail between your legs and abandon a conversation when presented with factual evidence? The majority of people in this class understood the concept of whitewashing, yellowface and transface. Your opinion is a minority, and that’s largely due to the fact it’s wrong and disrespectful/ You’re grasping at straws if you consider eating meat to be a display of masculinity that is somehow offensive to me. You’re also incorrect in assuming I’m a liberal, that is not my party and I do not subscribe to everything they support.

        Serious question, do you suffer from short term memory loss? You just insulted Caitlin Jenner by disrespecting her identity, you can’t flip the script and say I’m policing how you express your sexuality. You don’t have to like what Caitlin Jenner does or who she is, but you should have the decency to respect her. I personally do not like Caitlin Jenner and do not agree with her political views, but I will not disrespect her and promote violence against people like her, trans women, by reducing her identity to a punchline. She doesn’t deserve to die for expressing herself in a world that is incredibly opposed to her.

        Nobody said straight men have to cross-dress, we said let trans actors play trans characters. Nobody is asking straight men to “emasculate” themselves or do something they don’t want to do, the point is they do it anyways (Remember? You said they did it for extra money.) and this suppresses the chances of actual trans actors portraying themselves on screen. Make up your mind, do you want to “emasculate” straight white men by having them cross dress to play trans characters, or do you want to give those roles to actual trans people so you can retain your manhood? The choice is purely yours. Nobody forced Heath ledger to play a gay man in Brokeback Mountain, but he did, and Hollywood still saw him as masculine enough to play a role such as The Joker in The Dark Knight. A real man can’t have his masculinity threatened by something as simple as clothes. So when I said your masculinity was weak, I meant exactly that. You fall into a specific set of guidelines that says a man must do this, this, this and this and never deviate. That’s not being a man, that’s being a follower, and that’s weak, like your mindset.

        If anyone is narrow-minded here it is you. You are incapable of holding an intellectual conversation, we learned that when you ran away from the General Discussion topic. If you truly believe you have a chance at winning this argument you’re 0-1 as it stands. What “truth” are you speaking of? You’ve had a backwards ideology for the entirety of this course and chose to speak on it despite sounding foolish. Your reality is not truth, it’s bigotry fueled by ignorance. 20 years ago we would never be having a discussion on trans rights and representation. Your reality, whether you like it or not, is changing, because you are being forced to have these conversations by people different from you.

        You are losing the power you hold so near and dear to your heart and you can kick, stand your ground, stomp, whatever makes you feel better, but this discussion is not going to magically disappear, nor will minorities in both race and sexuality.

        Change is coming, and I’m more than happy to combat your
        bigotry when it rears its ugly head. Deal with it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • ihatenickelback ⋅

        Yes, I think the music is definitely what gives the film a lot of its identity and that cultural connection, as you stated. Without it, the movie would be dry and the representation of black people could be even more questionable, in my opinion. The music is like the cultural context which is absent in a lot of these action-packed, comedic, visual films. Very good point.

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      • ihatenickelback ⋅

        Response to clintrump:

        Do you ever read what you write? Do you read at all, for that matter?

        “I’m assuming you’re not a straight person by your response because most straight males don’t like to cross dress like Dave Chappelle and we shouldn’t because it’s strange from our perspective.”

        That first part alone is offensive and ignorant enough for me to ASSUME that you don’t read, and don’t read your own writing. Do you really wanna go that way, man? I’m ASSUMING from your response that you an uneducated, bigoted, white, straight male who doesn’t really feel the need to allocate anymore room in his brain for new ideas or learning in any way and spends most of his time protecting his own manhood.

        I am a straight, white person, and I am sorry to also deviate from the main class discussion but I am appalled by your continuous spewing of pseudo-chill hate speech that you seem to believe is protected by the 1st amendment which it IS NOT.

        And as a straight, white person, I’ll let you know that I do not agree with anything you have said I supposedly believe as a straight white person.

        Also “most straight males don’t like to blah blah blah because its strange from OUR perspective”.
        Who are you representing? Have you taken a poll on this? A census? What, may I ask, gives you the authority to make so many outlandishly generalized, ignorant statements?

        Apologies to the Professor, but this is ridiculous. And I don’t think this is a case where people are “just having conflicting ideas”. This is an obvious case of someone with an educated opinion being attacked and even put in the box of a marginalized group they may or may not fall in, in a belittling way, because of their IDEAS, which are backed up by many facts and history upon history.

        I am being politically correct, because PC isn’t “screw pc college culture i am triggered lol feminism”. PC isn’t “the word police” as so many unqualified, ignorant Donald Trump supporters and representative have childishly whined.

        PC is being educated, self-aware and respectful. I suggest you try it sometime, clintrump. You’ll be able to have a lot more, less heated conversations with all types of people.

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    • Nox ⋅

      One more thing clintrump,

      I am in STITCHES over the fact you called me narrow minded for stating that minorities should be able to represent themselves on screen. Do you want to repeal that claim? Because that is a horrible look for you. You have to be astronomically ignorant to call someone advocating for more diversity in film narrow minded. The most narrow thing in Hollywood is the window of opportunity for non white people, and that needs to change. If you are against this you are effectively stating you want to keep Hollywood white for no reason other than prejudice, which is truly disgusting because you’re reinforcing white supremacy.

      Hollywood makes films as if the American population is 98% white, and as it stands it is not an accurate portrayal of the many ethnic groups that make up a nation of immigrants. Nor does Hollywood accurately represent those of non christian faith, or sexual minorities. Advocating for the equal treatment of non white people in Hollywood is not close minded, it is trying to move forward because there are so many bigoted, uneducated cretins like you who actually run the industry and don’t see anything wrong with it because the entire system has always catered to them.

      You want the truth? White men have a superiority complex reinforced by giant machines like Hollywood, and you are a textbook example of what happens when that superiority is threatened. Hollywood does have an agenda, but it is not in favor of minorities, it is in favor of white people, which is why making progress is beyond difficult.

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      • clintrump ⋅

        @Nox

        I’m not uneducated, a creation, ignorant, prejudice, disgusting , close-minded, supremacist. You are a human label machine with no original ideas, or possibility to accept other points of view contrary to your own. You by definition are a narrow minded Politically correct police enforcer of free speech.

        By the way I’m not a christian, and Im not really sure why you mentioned that group? but modern Hollywood, and the left is often times narrow minded and group all christians as being terrible people but they aren’t they are actually really nice people… I’ve met a few pure hearted people who love god and christ it really is a beautiful thing to see. I don’t share that belief but thy have a spirit that many on the far left don’t have with their dead souls screaming for help from a system that doesn’t care. Atheists are the most hilarious modern belief system spawned from PC college culture. hilarious 🙂

        I’m sure not you are a part of the clinton support that is sore loser crying and whining while not asking yourself you can take power over your own life to improve yourself. You should have supported your boy Bernie sanders when the DNC robbed you of your nominee but you didn’t. you get what you deserve in this world. Just keep on complaining making low level childish name calling and I will laugh at your silly arguments into eternity because you can’t even prove a point. And you hate white people… just admit it thats how your heart really feels. I feel sorry for you but I don’t have any time or energy left for you good luck Nox you need it.

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      • Nox ⋅

        Clintrump,

        You are uneducated. You’ve proven that time and time again. Any white man who says he can relate to the plight of minorities because he listened to rap music in the 80s is uneducated, which is a feat in itself.

        Nobody has to accept your “points of view” if they infringe on the humanity of other people. You don’t think trans-facing is a thing, but have you ever met a trans person? Have you talked with one about the issue? Have you listened to trans people speak about their oppression? If you have, you would understand why your opinion on their livelihood isn’t valid.

        And once again you’re whining about “PC Culture.” The opposite of being politically incorrect is being politically incorrect. To be politically incorrect means to treat minorities as if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 never passed. What you’re saying when you denounce PC culture is “Why do I have to respect people that aren’t white men?” You’re saying you would rather call African-Americans niggers, trans people trannies, and so on and so forth. The idea of Political Correctness infringing on your rights is ridiculous, political correctness is about respecting people that have been dehumanized and disrespected in American history for so long. It is not going anywhere.

        I do not like Clinton, Bernie, or Trump. My reasons for disliking them however, are different. The people listed above, however, do not have anything to do with the discussion at hand. You’re saying I didn’t prove a point, as if I didn’t provide you with numerous examples, anecdotes, and statistics from respectable sources on why you were wrong.

        I proved to you that minorities are underrepresented and a large part of that is due to white families having 16x more generation wealth than black families, because of racist laws that ostracized black Americans from building wealth. That is not an opinion, it is a proven fact. So again, google redlining. Google white flight. You can not say I proved no point when you repeatedly ignore every point I make because you know I’m right and can’t stand the thought of being wrong.

        Free speech is saying “I dislike coffee” not “I don’t like trans/mexican/black/asian people.” or “I don’t think their struggle is real.” Your right to free speech stops the minute you start disrespecting another groups humanity. You will be called out, shamed, and punished in today’s world for being racist. That’s the reality we live in. If you work in retail and you are racist towards customers, you will get fired. PC culture isn’t going anywhere because PC culture is Civil Rights. You are incredibly narrow minded, I would say I’ve outsmarted you but you would have to show some sign of intellect for that statement to ring true.

        I hate ignorant people. White people however, fall under that umbrella more often than others because you believe the world revolves around you and block out any and everyone that’s not white. There are many intelligent white people taking this course, you simply aren’t one of them. You keep saying “I don’t have the time or the energy” to debate me but that’s because being a racist is hard work, you have to look at facts and put your fingers in your ears and close your eyes. So I understand your expression of exhaustion.

        Picture this; as the world, America included, becomes more progressive, people like you will be looked back on the same way whites are looked at during the Civil Rights era. Stubborn, arrogant, vile, and overall deplorable people. You will be viewed on the wrong side of history because you fought so hard to keep the status quo in check. You fought so hard to keep America White and White people at the top of the food chain.

        If you want to take power over your own life to improve yourself, you could start by realizing as a white man, you do not know what’s best for non-white people. As a straight person, you do not know what’s best for LGBT people. As a man, you do not know what’s best for women. White men can be traced to the root of most of Hollywood’s problems today, because they center themselves unapologetically and do so out of racism, whether they believe it or not. The world views America as a melting pot, but the pot is white, and the chef is white.

        I don’t know why you’re wishing me luck, as a straight white man your life is only going to get more difficult as minorities raise their voice. You’ll be another bitter, decrepit old man hankering for “The Good Days” when racism was legal. Your kids, god forbid you bring any into this world, will grow up surrounded by more and more people that do not look like them. They will be forced to experience different cultures, and hopefully won’t turn out as ignorant as you.

        And since you have so much time on your hands, why don’t you actually go read that article I posted in general discussion about how white America kept black Americans out of white spaces via Economic racism such as Segregation and Housing?

        Facts do not cease to exist just because you ignore them clintrump. If you can’t handle your racism being exposed it might be time for you to find yourself a safe space 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • BIGANTEATER ⋅

      Ok clintrump first of all, there is no disco in any blacksploitation film. Its all funk. Funk, soul, and even some afrobeat. Shoutout to Fela Kuti. Disco is a completely different thing. To avoid a 100000 word post check out this guys answer to the question “What are the differences between Funk, Disco, Soul and R&B?” at this link https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-differences-between-Funk-Disco-Soul-and-R-B

      Second of all, on the surface the music may seem to not fit but the aesthetic of blacksploitation is a mashup of all things from the african american experience. Afros, cool slang, inner city ghettos, funk, soul, drug pushing (which ironically is now becoming legal in more and more states but thousands of blacks remain imprisoned for beating white america to the idea) etc etc. In this sense the music fits perfectly. As someone having grown up in the black experience the music fits justly. At the same time I show sympathy for those lacking understanding of other cultures so I will not flame you to hard ***fire emoji*** OHHHHHH!!! Moreover asian americans have been ostracized just as much as black americans so the two always have had a sort of symbiotic relationship. Go to any inner city ghetto in America, theres always grocery stores and restaurants all ran by asian americans. The black people are their loyal customers. Look at Wu-Tang. Their whole asthetic is based on ideas created by Asians.

      The trans stuff I dont really get into because im not well versed in the topic but please inform me because I’d like to understand myself.

      Lastly I see you mentioned UFC. Did you see the conor mcgregor vs alvarez fight this past weekend? WHAT A FIGHT!

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    • shmoo ⋅

      Like in black belt jones, I found the music to actually go quite well with the fighting. You mentioned the style of the era and how it is presented with the Afro and bell bottoms, and to me it seems like the music makes it seem like he is at a disco dancing. It makes the kung foo moves look like dance moves, and if you pay attention there is a rhythm that each punch hits a beat. A lot of black Explotation films mention having, “groove” and I think this is why the protagonists are such good fighters. It’s because they grew up in the 70’s with all of this great music and were able to channel that rhythm towards fighting for justice! Or something like that…

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  4. White Rabbit ⋅

    Blaxploitation is an interest toping… I can see the benefits to the industry, and I can see how it was used to negatively affect the perception of the black American community. Some of the genre films are humorous, while others are highly offensive. I think it’s great that many directors and actors were provided an opportunity to shine through this genre. It is however interesting to see how this genre has influenced the mainstream. For instance, I didn’t realize the impact that the music of this genre had on the mainstream films. I think it’s also almost comical how a similar plot is used throughout the films of this genre, I believe the teacher referenced it as “Revenge Thrillers”. The idea that some form of injustice targets the main actor, who responds with revenge. “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” is a great example of this plot, as the main actor seeks to revenge the injustice that is ushered by the white folks, specifically the police. It is also unfortunate that in many cases, the black community was often portrayed as thugs, criminals, gangsters, etc…

    Maybe the variation of content varied on the targeted audience. For instance, I am assuming once the mainstream embraced the genre, it adapted the content to reflect more negatively on the black community, compared to the early films by unknown producers/directors, like Spike Lee.

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    • Sorabari ⋅

      I think that Blaxploitation movies succeeded as business. The filmmakers of the genre looked up the tendency of the society and historical background and created the genre. The target of the genre is black people in America, so the main roles are played by black people. I assume that it’s a good opportunity for them to see the light because before that, they were mainly refused to play a role of main characters in the main film industries. Some people might think that the genre triggered to plant stereotype to people, but the genre helped the actors to let the audience know their performances. Therefore, in my opinion, the genre has double edged sword.

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    • dinerbears ⋅

      i think blaxploitation is an interesting topic too. And it is a big market for African American. in America population there are 12.4 percent. it kind of big market. it pretty interesting to see in the beginning most of actor is white and later movie industry add more different race and color of skin actor to attract more different audience to watched. when we talk about blaxploitation remind me in the past few movie we watched in the class there are no other race or skin people on it. only different color people i remember is in the movie Jesse James is pinkie

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  5. shmoo ⋅

    I thought the intro scenes we watched during last class was really fun. It was interesting to see that although we were watching to point out blaxploitation, there were also some Asian stereotyping in that opening Kung fu scene. All the “bad guys” were Asians. The white business men just stood by while the protagonist beat them all up. I think the reference Karl was talking about in anime association is “Afro samurai” I’ve never seen it but I’ve seen the ads and when watching the facial movements and body actions I noticed they were very similar. Even in the way he raises his eyebrow. It is nice to point out all the influences from blaxploitation films, for even now shows like the boondocks use them. The boondocks is animated and uses practically every stereotype/soundtrack seen in these films as a more modern “ironic” comedy. I think this usage makes it seem less believable, and hopefully over time there will be film and television shows with African Americans without all the unnessecary stereotyping. With this current generation, I believe people are realizing that media and real life are not necessarily mirroring eachother, as often media exaggerates and lies for more viewers. This can be seen in representation and body types in film. Maybe this generation will try to balance this by creating more original media that does not exploit, but educates on truth.

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  6. OOR ⋅

    I think that blaxploitation is interesting topic, but when I have heard of this word, I don’t know what it means and after I had a research about the topic, it was so hard to publish and popular in the past. The reason why is most of people have stereotype against black people as pimp and drug dealer. Therefore, even though the director made a blaxploitation film at that time, it was hard to make money and even black people also opposed the blaxploitation film to make. In the end of 1970, the genre of the blaxploitation disappear in the world. I think that is discrimination against black people. However, some of directors got good evaluation from those movies, that could be the basis of making the movie which is related with poverty problems. Current years, blaxploitation accepted much more than past from a lot of people, so we can watch some of movies.For example, one of the my favorite movie I think it involves one of the blaxploitation movie? called straight outta Compton. That is so cool movie that tell me that how black people was discriminated from other races in the United States. They love hip pops, are rapper and tries to change the views against black people. Most of songs they made was singing about how they were treated from other people like polices because at that time police had discrimination against black as drug dealer so bad, so always they check what they have. However, even though they get discriminated from other people, they didn’t give up and show who they are. This movie impressed me and learn about the black people. I think that the people who brought up to make blaxploitation film and get accepted were so hard. I’m proud of that person could make it.

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    • GreenBanana ⋅

      I agree with your opinion. I also felt blaxploitation is a interest that i learned during this class. Blaxploitation touches sensitive and it usually have stereotypes on black people. I have not seen “Straight outta Compton” but NWA worked hard to protest against their issues with government. Still, hate crime issues running in United states and I believe they fought against police because black people at the time were treated unequally. Also, recently there were shooting on innocent black persons by white polices and it became big big big problem in the United States. Its really sad but racism is still happening.

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  7. Vera Lynn ⋅

    Blaxploitation is a rough topic to cover. On the one hand, it very much showed a very stereotyped view of what people outside of black culture thought black culture was. Yet, on the other hand, it seems like it was a first step into getting black talent into the movie making business. Blaxploitation films were only made for a very short time, and understandably so. But part of me wonders where things could have gone. I guess the first reaction to that thought would be more movies with more harmful stereotyping. However, I also wonder if t genre wouldn’t have evolved into something more positive.

    I think The Boondocks is a great example of this. The show was one of the best cartoons in a long, long time, and it takes a lot from Blaxspoitation films. The main character Huey often deals with situations and characters that are directly pulled from blaxploitation films. The character Busido Brown is a direct copy of Jim Kelly. There is also the character Stinkmeaner who is often depicted as many of the negative stereotypes from blaxsplotation films. Huey himself is a kung-fu master of sorts, and the show will from time to time have him fight it out with some of the other characters. But more often than not, Huey is dealing with issues of racism, exploitation and so on. So I wonder if blaxsploitation movies might not have evolved into something like that. Maybe we would going to more movies directed by black directors featuring black actors in normal roles. Or maybe things would have just gotten worse. Who knows.

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    • OOR ⋅

      I agree with you that people had stereotype against black people so badly long time ago, and I feel that it gets better current years, but I realized that it doesn’t disappear at all that people still have stereotype against them. I think that it was so hard back people to get into the movie making business for black talent at that time. Most of all people discriminate against black people, so they don’t want them to be in even a movie product because we have a lot of movies which is old movies, but they haven’t showed up might be a few times. I’m also wondering how those people could get into the movie making business and how people who make blaxploitation movie again. That’s good idea that you mentioned that Maybe we would going to more movies directed by black directors featuring black actors in normal roles. i think that I haven’t heard about the black movie director because I think most of movies are made by white movie director. That’s one of the stereotype that there are a lot of black people who have skills like creative same as famous black actors. Also, if we do that they know all of it and how they feel as well, so the movie can be emotionally and better than other people make.

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  8. clintrump ⋅

    Response to Pizza Boy,

    I agree that a music soundtrack give the longest lasting connection to culture and plays an important role in these films. Music is the best way to identify a certain period of time in history giving us a reference to go by. If you hear basic synthesizer sounds and beats you can automatically assume that the time period is around the 1980’s, and the funky disco music sound gives an assumption that the time period took place in the 1970’s. I just think in the film like Black Belt Jones the music track shouldn’t have been used in tandem with the fighting scene but I guess that was the directors taste for whatever reason?

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    • I kind of disagree (not fully) with the point that music is the best way to identify a certain period of time in history. Because if you were born after the generation, many people don’t know the older generation’s music or what period its from. I think it often can be the other way around in the sense you see the old film and lean that there were old music like this and from that you lean about old music. Then understand that these types of music were popular in the time of the setting of the film.

      Also music is often re produced, for instance hip-hop from the 90s or 80s if often remade by new artists and if you don’t know the genre very well you would not be able to distinguish if its from 21st century or from the 80s or 90s.

      So I would disagree that f you hear basic synthesizer sounds and beats you can automatically assume that the time period is around the 1980’s because there are artists now who use basic synthesizer sounds too. On top of that my other point that people who were born after the 1980’s wouldn’t be able to automatically assume that its from the 1980’s even if it was.

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      • uruwa ⋅

        Even if you learn about popular music of a decade from a movie of that time, you still make the connection one way or another. Whether you learn about past popular genres from movies or someone older than you, it still leaves a lasting impression. Most people you meet would be able to tell the different between hit songs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. As you go back before the 60s, it gets a little harder, as many films from the 50s and before aren’t as popular and didn’t have much of a film score.
        But for example, if you go home and watch, say… Labyrinth. And then you leave, turn on a radio station, and hear something with that same drum line and synth style, you’ll automatically know it’s from the 80s. Sure, some artists today reproduce past styles, but it’s a small percentage that do.

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  9. Armitage ⋅

    As mentioned in class Blaxploitation was only huge for a short period of time. So compared to movies as a whole there aren’t as many, but there are still enough to cover a broad and diverse spectrum. From my experience the majority of the Blaxploitation films are that most are ok and few amazing. Much like films in general, most are ok but the few great films are undeniable. So I think the ratio of good to bad in Blaxploitation is on par at least with film in general. That the few films that were made in the short period of time where able to influence nearly every film that came after. As we saw in class the Blaxploitation musical style bleed into mainstream films like James bond and mission impossible. Also the film making style made its way into mainstream, the gritty city streets with super cool protagonists kicking butt is still a mainstream archetype.

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    • Vera Lynn ⋅

      To be a bit more clear about what I was trying to get across. I wasn’t talking so much about the genre surviving and carrying influence into other genres. Regardless of how one might feel about blaxplotation films, they were a gateway for minority people to break into the film industry.

      When we look at the number of SAG talent, we still see that African-American actors are a bit under represented in roles in general, and very under represented in major roles. For other minorities, it is worse. I can’t help but think that if Blaxploitation films had continued, they could have continued to be a gateway to a more diverse pool of talent within Hollywood, and the genre may have evolved.

      As I have said before, and has been mentioned in class, where we really see under representation is talent behind the camera. While I don’t have any number on DOPs, editors, and so on, I think only 6% of directors in Hollywood are Black. Again, I can’t help but wonder if blaxploitation films could have been a way for more diverse directors.

      Finally, the reason I brought up The Boondocks is not only because it is a great example of a fantastic show, but it also has a mostly black cast and crew. The shows creator and director is black, and I believe most if not all the cast is black. The Boondocks was able to give a ton of people jobs in the industry. But the problem is that The Boondocks was just one TV show. I think we can look at The Boondocks as microcosm of Blaxplotation films. Maybe if there were more movies like that, then more people could get into the industry. Or maybe not.

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    • Sorabari ⋅

      I think that the reason why Blaxploitation didn’t last long is that the filmmaker didn’t get enough budget to shoot a masterpiece. Likewise, the target is black people only comparing with mainstream movie, so it seemed hard for them to get attention and make profit. We have watched several video clips in the class, and I felt that I’ve seen those films that are similar with mainstream movies like action, horror, and so on. The audience might feel de ja vu because of similar context; therefore, the audience may gradually lose their interests in Blaxploitation. To be honest, I enjoyed watching them even though we haven’t watched even a whole Blaxploitation movie because the music is good and some of them are funny. I don’t know if our classmates liked or not, but I’d like to watch some of them after the semester is done.

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  10. karltuj

    I see it popping up here and there, and just as a recommendation (it’s your space here), try to avoid personally attacking each other based on assumptions who or how that person could be. I know it’s not uncommon these days, especially on TV. But it occurs when people run out of good arguments and/or just want to push their argument through with disregard to the other. The only effect it will have is that you’ll be screaming at each other. It will not lead to progress. And usually these assumptions are wrong, on top of everuthing!
    As for a better understanding of gender, I recommend my topics course in Spring semester. We will have a deep look into how media deal with it, and your assignments will be formally the same with our present class. So if you liked American Film, and want to know more about yourself and others by challenging yourself, take this course focusing particularly on that social, psychological and medical topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • karltuj

      To add, “Minority Facing” is something ethically despicable done in movies and TV, because it distorts the image of an existing marginalized group in society, by replacing a member of that particular group by one of their own, often in combination with constructing an emotional distance through exaggerated and misleading characteristics, and by this, creating a kind of caricature on the whole group, on top of actually suggesting this would be a realistic portray of it. (Caricature as an art form might be a guilty pleasure on people who aren’t being marginalized or discriminated, for example on political leaders or famous artists etc.) Doing so, film producers might want to cater – what they assume might be – general taste, but are amplifying wrong and negative stereotypes about that particular group.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ihatenickelback ⋅

    I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable during our viewing of some of these blaxploitation films. I think it might have had a lot to do with the war going on in my head between “Yeah, these are classic, and the music is great!” and “These films seem harmful to an already marginalized group”.

    While this is similar to what a lot of people were saying about John Water’s film Pink Flamingos, I still feel like they are different and have different impacts.

    Pink Flamingos had some major LGBT stars in it, and John Waters himself has always been an ally and advocate and, while he makes crude, taboo, shocking content, I doubt he makes it with anything but respect and good will. It looks fun, it feels fun and important and progressive. Even those who are repulsed are still aiding in the progression of society and the decrease in marginalization of the LGBT community. That kind of film could even be contributing to the mainstream of LGBT issues and stars – for example, Ru Paul’s Drag Race (and Ru Paul herself, honey!) is a great example of something going mainstream against the will of many ignorant people who still find it to be “shocking” or a “freakshow” as clintrump so elegantly put it (no tea, no shade, ma’am sir).

    These blaxploitation movies, on the other hand, seem to forcibly continue to put black people in boxes. A funky, well-dressed, afro-donning box that sometimes knows kung-fu. Why isn’t this considered harmful? What is the intent of each producer, director, writer, etc? Are they friend or fiend?

    Don’t get me wrong. I really like these movies, and they probably brought some empowerment to the black communities of the States, and I LOVE LOVE the soundtracks. Classic artists. Great visuals. But I don’t know… something bothers me about it.

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  12. dinerbears ⋅

    At the class time we watched few clips about Blaxploitation movie. I think there are all have similar topic. Such as, drug dealing and pimp. I think this is a little bit different with other movie type we talk about in class for past few weeks. I think America film business is interesting because they have so many type of movie target in different group of the people. I think Blaxploitation target the urban African – American audience is one of biggest marker in America. I feel America movie is kind of multivariant because they have black facing, yellow facing, facing of other ethnicities and transacting. It is not comment in Asian movie. usually Asian would not use that many race or some controversial topic in the movie. I am also kind surprise most of job behind the scenes taking by males. Female percentage is much lower the male. I am curious is this one kind of stereotype that women director usually is making documentary film not the main stream film. In the race population part I am not surprise that most of film actors were white because I am not watched a lot of movie but most of actor’s name come up with my mind are white. It is pretty interesting know more about stuff for the American movie industry and type of movie America made.

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    • OOR ⋅

      I agree with you that drug dealing and pimp are in blaxploitation movie because I think that most of people have a discrimination against black people are like these. Also, I agree one more thing that Blaxploitation target the urban African – American audience is one of biggest marker in America. I feel that a lot of kinds of race are living in the United States, and they have discrimination historically so bad and people want to change to live as diversity and comfortable to live together for all of races. I think that the discrimination in the United States is bad because even though a lot of races are living there, some of them hate each other because of discrimination.

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  13. Blaxploitation films are probably one of my favorites to watch because you rarely see a african american being the star character in most films. As mentioned about Blaxploitation films, although they were critically acclaimed to being very sterotypical and racist considering the terms used in the films and also the names of the films for example “Blacula”, “Black Dynamite”, “Cotton comes to Harlem” and etc.

    Although there are tons of blaxploitation films out, some were very well made for example “Superfly”, “Black belt jones” and “Coffy”. though the films were all incredibly sensitive in regards to those who oppose, the story lines for many of blaxploitation films are very well developed.

    Spike Lee, being a african american director was very looked down upon for creating blaxploitation films as many claimed he was letting african americans down for creating films that looked down on his race.

    I may have missed it in class but I would like to know more about the controversy about Spike Lee and blaxploitation films more because it sounds very interesting.

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    • karltuj

      I think there is a bit confusion here. Not at all are all movies by African-American directors “Blaxploitation”, but this is a category of films of the 1970’s! They are not made anymore, although you can find references (homage, we will talk about what that is in class) in modern movies, i.e. Jackie Brown by Q. Tarantino.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Eddie ⋅

    I have extremely Biased views on the topics of blaxploitation. I’m glad that blacksploitation is no longer a style of film because It was offensive and only went on to prolong stereotypes that only cause hurt to the black community. If it made black actors more acceptable I suppose there were some good things too; however, I don’t like the idea of people continuing to push the stereotype of the ignorant, sex crazed, aggressive, and ridiculous black male using ebonics and so forth. As if we were incapable of more.

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  15. Again I didn’t know about this genre before this class. As in said in the power point this genre has died out by the late 1970s, and I think it’s insetting to lean about something that doesn’t exist anymore, just like how people study about dinosaurs. It’s good that Blaxploitation died out because it was offensive and portrayed negative stereotypes and hurt the black community. But I think that these negative stereotypes still exist and it could be a result of Blaxploitation. Blaxploitation stereotyped African-Americans, as pimps and drug dealers, but I feel like rap music does the same a lot of time especially the older times. Which again could be because of the impact of Blaxploitation genre. I’ve never watched a Blaxploitation film so I cant say anything for sure but from what I’ve learned in class Blaxploitation did have a great impact on society and the media played a big role in spreading the news.

    Anyways Blaxploitation has made a big impact of society and black community, especially in a negative way. But I would have to say Blaxploitation also in the long run made black people more acceptable in film and people got used it. Especially in the past black history people had to fight for freedom and there right, and over come segregation. As black people was not able to be in films long ago. So having Blaxploitation then may have helped black people integrate into the white society at first, although in the end only left negative stereotypes.

    I am probably not going to watch a Blaxploitation film on my own from the negative image I got, but if I were offered to watch it I wouldn’t mind watching a film or two from the Blaxploitation genre to broaden my knowledge and understand of the genre itself and the history behind it.

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  16. KillDozer ⋅

    Blaxploitation movies, while we can look back now and find countless flaws and point out that they brought to bear a lot of negative stereotypes, just viewed on their own I think a lot of them are extremely entertaining. They’ve got action, they’ve got sex appeal, and they’ve got some amazing soundtracks. This is generally speaking mind you as I’m sure there are some films from the genre that have few or no redeeming qualities but then again that’s to be expected from pretty much any genre. Also, and this isn’t a testament to how good they are, but I find a lot of blaxploitation movies to be unintentionally funny, in part because of the often low production value and bad acting, and in part by just how incredibly dated they can be. Even just hearing the titles of some of these films is enough to make people laugh out loud at just how silly they sound. Blacula for example, everybody laughs when they hear the title, but if you actually watch the film from start to finish, it’s definitely decent. It’s at least competently made, which you can say for a lot of these movies.

    As we discussed in class, these movies paved the way for African American to have a more prominent role in Hollywood as far as bringing actors, directors and others into the main stream. Because of these movies, it became normalized to have a strong black lead in your film, though not operating in the same way as the leads in most blaxploitation movies. Instead of being a gangster, pimp or criminal, in the 80’s there were a ton of movies that have basically the same kind of plot, usually centering around crime and revenge, but the black heroes became cops instead of criminals. The Beverly Hills Cop films with Eddie Murphy, Action Jackson featuring the amazing Carl Weathers, and the Lethal Weapon films with Danny Glover are great examples of 80’s films with strong black leads on the right side of the law, going above and beyond the call of duty, but they always maintain a strong independent streak.

    Aside from that, blaxploitation has also had a profound effect in influencing a ton of great filmmakers and it shows in their casting choices from time to time. Quentin Tarantino casting Pam Grier in Jackie Brown as kind of an homage to Foxy Brown, Robert Rodriguez casting Fred Williamson as a bad ass bar patron in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and even Tim Burton cast Pam Grier and Jim Brown together as husband and wife in his B-Movie love letter, Mars Attacks. On top of that, parodies like I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and Black Dynamite, which even spawned an animated series by the way, these movies show their love for the genre in a humorous way. It takes those unintentionally funny elements I spoke of and turns them into gags that are intentionally funny.

    As a side note, as someone who grew up in an area where I wasn’t necessarily accepted for who I was, as someone who was bullied and ostracized by a lot of the people in my own community, there’s something gratifying about watching a movie that features someone getting even with their tormentor. For instance, I love Dolemite, I love all the scenes where he’s being harassed by racist white guys, they even rough him up a bit and think they’ll get away with it, but he always gets even. Sure, I’m nothing like Dolemite and I didn’t catch the kind of hell he does, but when he fights back it makes me feel good. I think you could make a movie with the same plot structure, change the motivation for the abuse the protagonist suffers, maybe it’s just a nerdy kid everybody picks on, and it would still be super gratifying when he kicked the crap out of his tormentors.

    So there you go, blaxploitation films weren’t always great but they could definitely be worth wild. They could be funny, sexy, exciting, action packed, terrible, and entertaining. Hell, they were movies, and everything movies should be.

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  17. TRONtravolta ⋅

    There is much controversy that follows with the topic of Blaxplotation and the impact that the films had on Hollywood. The stereotypes and long term effects that came along with producing these films were far worse the payout, which was having African Americans in Hollywood. African American directors and actors were unable to make their own films and with their own stylistic ways, but eventually would be corrupted when mainstream Hollywood “White Hollywood,” found a way infiltrate and profit by making their own movies. Just like every subculture or underground type movement eventually loses all meaning and originality behind it when profits become the main focal point. It is very unfortunate how the portrayals of African Americans in these films were negative, whether the character was lacking intelligence or being portrayed with animalistic tendencies, showing aggression and weak in thoughtful problem solving. The effect that these films have had still play a major roll on characters that are portrayed in movies and even kids television programs today. It is impossible to judge or portray a whole race, while these films didn’t; the power of media influenced the thoughts of those watching these characters on the big screen. With so much creativity in the 70’s, it is a shame that African Americans were not given the same chances in Hollywood and in the overall act of film making. With so much that was going on, I feel that there could have been a lot of great stories to be told.

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  18. wakarinai ⋅

    I”ll admit as a child I would see this genre of movie and I had no clue that it was exploitation. Being ignorant of how America operated at the time, I only saw these movies as comedies. But you can’t really blame a ten year old kid for not understanding. But as Ive grown up and become more aware I cant help but feel disgust when I see these types of films. Very interesting to view in that it is something that did happen, and this is part of selling a racist agenda perpetuating a stereotype. In this I cant find the humor in these movies anymore. These movies clearly were made to achieve a racist agenda.

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    • Yeah I also agree, as a child, i was simply just watching these films thinking it was just a normal to have these titles, character names and etc.

      But after gaining knowledge through film history and history itself, I realized how ignorant and racist blackxpolitation films were.
      Im sure this fits in any type of business but this type of genre was made to create equality amongst African Americans to become stars in films which wasnt popular back in the day but by doing so, they took a very racist approach that caused major backlash from the audiences.

      Personally, I enjoy watching these films despite the racism.

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    • uruwa ⋅

      It’s sad that we grow up with these stereotypes in America. For example, I always saw the parodies of Blaxploitation films in movies and shows, but never knew where it came from, nor did I know anything about the history behind it. When I got a bit older, I knew it came from the 70s, but still had no idea about Blaxploitation films, and never bothered to look into it. It was only when we started talking about it in this class that I finally knew where these stereotypes came from. It’s probably true to say that not many people in our generation know about the genre, nor will they learn about it unless they take a film class.

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    • theSiren_Song ⋅

      I’m with you guys on this one. This is the first I’ve hear of blaxploitation. I remember seeing some films at like blockbuster or the library or where ever, but I never watched them because I never thought I would enjoy them since they seemed (i assumed rightfully) aimed towards blacks in america and I wouldn’t be able to connect with them. Its a bit of a shame to find out that, yes it was created to be aimed towards a demographic that was mostly ignored in hollywood, but ended perpetuating stereotypes and making things a bit worse in hollywood when it comes to how minorities are portrayed in films.

      This whole genre kind of reminds me of how Japan just finds the smallest thing in human life to exploit and turn into a demanded market, such as cuddle cafes or rent-a-friends. These exploit natural parts of people’s lives and turns it into a way to make money. They did the same. They saw a demographic that demanded films that represented them and created films for them and exploited that demand. Its a shame and rather disgusting in my opinion.

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  19. BIGANTEATER ⋅

    So much anger in the comments. Stereotype this and whitewash that….. BLACK FOLKS GOT TO BE ON THE BIGSCREEN! AND MOREOVER THEY WERE THE STARS OF THESE FILMS! Thats a miracle in itself so at least put some respect on that sheesh! Negative stereotypes? HUH? I don’t see any in these films. These films were showing shit that was really going on in the inner city ghettos. Things that most America were unaware of you guys! Why are you angry at that? These movies gave other black folks the opportunity and platform to get out of their rut. People try to say the same thing about hiphop/rap. Its all a retelling of real things that are happening in peoples existence. If yall want it to end then tell the government to listen to whats going on in the streets and stop neglecting the black population. At the end of the day its an art form. They were expressing in ways that they saw fit just as people do in all other genres and art forms so I dont wanna hear any of that negative stereotype BS. Phew..

    Ok Blaxploitation, I have an interesting relationship with it. I found out about blaxploitation through music. The soundrtracks for the films have all been legendary and have gone on to outlive and out sale their film counterparts. I bought a record in highscool because the album art was filled with afros. I could relate to that so i copped the album. The album turned out to be the soundtrack to a film called Coffy. All scored by the late great OG Roy Ayers. After discovering that, I was on a quest to find all blaxploitation films/soundtracks.

    Lastly If you guys want to watch a modern blaxploitation film I recommend you check out Black Dynamite. It was released a few years ago. Its worth it. Trust me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nox ⋅

      @BIGANTEATER
      If you don’t see the negative stereotypes depicted within blaxploitation films despite the numerous discussions we’ve had in class it’s probably because you’re not black and have never had to deal with the lingering stereotypes of these films. How do you know all these stories were accurate of what was going on in the inner-cities? Were you there? Have you lived in the inner-city or done research on the black diaspora? “Black people got to be on the big screen!” Does not negate the negative stereotypes these films perpetuated.

      Not all black people in the 70s rocked afros, said Jive Turkey, liked Disco, and called white people Cracka. You’re focusing on the positives and completely ignoring the negatives, because non-black people were never negatively affected by blaxploitation films, only black people were. It’s called Blaxploitation because it exploited black people. It is literally a combination of the words black and exploitation, that’s not a positive.

      “It helped black people get out of their rut” you’re assuming a lot of black actors got rich and famous off of these films, that’s not true. Many stars from Blaxploitation films only did it because it was the only way they could get work in Hollywood, and once the genre ended so did their careers in films. It was a stepping stone but not for every black person who partook in it.

      I don’t want to hear anyone who isn’t black trying to interpret the negative effects of Blaxploitation if they can’t even admit it had negative effects on the black community. Being the star of the film isn’t helpful when you’re always playing a drug dealer or aggressive caricature. You claim to love blaxploitation films, the least you could do would be to research it’s effect on the black community long-term.

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      • BIGANTEATER ⋅

        Oh im not black lol? Bruh youre such a square. Believe me when I tell you, YOU WOULD NOT SURVIVE A DAY IN MY WORLD. Youre obviously a softy who folds from the slightest blow of any wind. You’re way to sensitive to the opinions of the people of the world. Your skin is thinner than hairs on my grandaddys afro.Negative stereotypes of blacks? The things portrayed in the film were relevant to the times and definitly are a big part of black culture. All stereotypes are not bad bruh. You just choose to get butt hurt by the ones that offend you. Learn to take some shots to the chin, bounce back, and fight against the things that really matter. Im as black as you if not blacker but I can see the beauty in the opportunities blaxbloitation afforded blacks. Now lets unite as one and stop the internet trolling.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Nox ⋅

        You seem to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome, look it up. What constitutes a “day in your world”? What do you do that makes your world so perilous? Agreeing with white people seems to make it easier. You consider pointing out the negative effects of blaxploitation films being sensitive? You realize it was the black community who literally boycotted blaxploitation films, ending their relevancy because they were considered a form of cultural genocide. Blaxploitation films played a major role in the negative stereotypes that plagues black people today. Do you consider all the black people who protested Blaxploitation films in the 70s sensitive? They were a dead end. There was nothing to look forward to in the future of blaxploitation films. They continuously exploited black culture and kept actual black people as a racist caricature in the minds of white America. The initial progress of the films was good, yes, but that progress stopped. Blaxploitation films overstayed their welcome and their effectiveness as a tool to get black culture to a larger audience quickly soured.

        They kickstarted black people into Hollywood and were great at first, white people took over and it quickly became nothing but redundant stereotypes that was not indicative of ALL black people during the 70s. Yes, some black peoples lives mirrored those of blaxploitation films, MANY black people’s lives did NOT. White people were doing drugs in the 70s too, blaxploitation films sensationalized so many things as “explicitly black” when it just isn’t true. Black people lost control of blaxploitation films, they weren’t even in charge of them shortly after the first major films. It lost it’s essence and was stripped of the little good it had to pander to a white audience because white people were exploiting them.

        Define a good stereotype for me. Black people do not get to choose which stereotypes are applied to them, and most if not all are based in racism. All stereotypes have an origin, and stereotypes are created and used to further an agenda. Go watch D.W Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Look at how black people are depicted (Lazy, thieves, rapists, etc.) and mirror it to how America views blacks even today.

        Fighting against blaxploitation films DID matter because it stopped black people from enduring 10-20 more years of rigorous stereotyping. (Not that it ever stopped, but still.) If blaxploitation was the only type of black exposure Hollywood allowed, things like The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, shows that depicted upper-middle class black families, positive images, would have never occurred. The opportunities would never have risen because black people would be forever pigeon-holed into the roles that blaxploitation films provided, and America would only have one view, a very negative, ignorant view, of black Americans. There’s a reason so many Americans believe all black people are poor and live in Urban ghettoes. Blaxploitation films contributed to this.

        Nobody told you to not see the beauty in blaxploitation films when it was present, I said you can’t ignore the negative effects and just focus on the positive, that’s erasing history. Learn more about blaxploitation films and stop being so complacent and accepting of actual harmful material. We can sit and talk about some great blaxploitation films all day but we can not simply ignore the hard fact that they contributed to negative stereotyping of African-Americans.

        You clearly have a minimal understanding of your own culture if you choose to ignore what so many black people saw and still do see as harmful. Fighting against the things that really matter is fighting against negative stereotyping that negatively affects black people all over the world. Understand the power of the media before you comment with”not all stereotypes are bad.” You want to unite? Educate yourself. You can’t unite if you’re lagging behind and making excuses. I’m not interested in a discussion on “who’s blacker.” I genuinely did not believe you were black because your comment read as though it came from someone with incredibly little background on black history and black culture.

        You don’t want to fight against negative stereotyping? You don’t mind it? You do you then, but be thankful there are “sensitive” people like me that care about how black people are portrayed to a global audience, because we’re the ones who actually have an effect long-term and make changes that ultimately result in better representation and treatment for black people. You’re welcome.

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      • karltuj

        Unfortunately I have not enough time to reply in detail, but it must be pointed out that the atmosphere during that era became understandingly extremely heated (because of the REAL racism and the fight against it in society). These Blaxploitation films gained more and more exposure so that made them an easy target. Then people judged these books by their cover. They believed that ALL entries in the genre showed negative stereotypes of African-Americans which actually is not exactly the truth. Jim Kelly did embody a positive stereotype (more like a modern comic hero, yes, still a stereotype, but that’s what movies usually do), and some films were a bit more sophisticated than others (Blacula; Cleopatra Jones; Boss Nigger [despite its awful title]; Across the 110th Street; Cooley High; Black Mama, White Mama; Three the Hard Way etc.), but they were all equally thrown under the bus. As much as it’s understandable why that happened, there might have been also a bit of a loss. Yes, most films did not develop above the stereotype, but those which tried did also get no chance. So that they did not go anywhere – there are always two sides to a story.

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    • wakarinai ⋅

      I feel you on what you said. Yet, I don’t think that taking an issue or something that is going on in the urban community today and then turning that into a joke is something that causes positive change. Yes, it took black people and gave them an opportunity to hit the big screen as a star. But most of them were left to that genre and were not given the opportunity to progress to a higher budget and gain of more exposure that other films did. Also these films had a bad habit of showing a black person as a drug addict or a dealer. Yet that isnt the only one who sells or uses in the city man. This was displayed in not only blacksploitation films, but also in mainstream films too. Even when you look in to the guidelines for making films, it was even against the law to express and interracial, or portraying a white person as a slave in a film. So maybe the forum has taken an unnecessary turn to negativity towards this subject when a more objective view would have achieved a higher level of thinking in this class. Yet, calling a spade a spade in this sense is something I do consider to be merited on this occasion. So did it give an opportunity? Or did it play in to the classic manipulation and control tactic of giving a little in order to take more? I’d love to hear more opinions on this.

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      • Armitage ⋅

        I don’t think it’s fair to say blaxploitation was, as a whole, making fun of black people or their lives. The movies look cheesy and campy from our standards, because we are more accostomed to the parodies of blaxploitation. I have to admit that the first “blaxploitation” film I ever watched was BlackDynomite, which is parody. So when I watch older films from the genre I always bring that previous experience with me. While it is true that some blaxploitation movies are corny, and we’re corny then, there are many that are legitimately well made and cool. We talked briefly in class about Super fly and Pusher man, both great films that happen to be blaxploitation.

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  20. White Rabbit ⋅

    Thinking about blaxploitation, I was wondering how many films today portray the black community in a poor way. I’m not the biggest film buff, and I was considering what the trends have been more recently, and I assume to some degree that much of it was perpetuated by blaxploitation. Also, although it is a bit off our class topic, how are TV shows affected? I grew up watching many shows like The Cosby Show, Family Matters, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. To my knowledge, many of these shows gave me a positive image of the black American community, although this wasn’t necessarily the case with films. Apart from a few popular black actors, it really does seem that even today, black Americans are simply not represented in great numbers. I could certainly say the same for the asian Americans, but that would be straying for the topic.

    I hope to see more black Americans in mainstream films, although the current political platform in America seems to indicate that many Americans are still very resistant to racial equality.

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    • I agree with you I hope to see more black Americans in mainstream films too, but also other races too. I would say there is more black actors now compared to Asian actors, (I may be wrong but just form a personal view). America does seem to indicate that many Americans are still very resistant to racial equality and especially the film industry. The fact that we get surprised to see other races besides white people is proof of how white actors dominate the film industry in the US. I think the only way change such situation is time. There is nothing we can do to change the Hollywood, because at end of the day they are the ones who are choosing their actors and we well watch the film if its good regardless of the actors race. In the future when other races become the majority and take control economically we will hopefully be able to see more variation of race in one film.

      I also have to note that some TV show try there best to have different races in their show. Notably walking dead, it has black, white, Mexican, and Asian actors with key roles. Even breaking bad has black, Mexican and white actors with key roles too. So maybe the TV series may integrate different race before the films in Hollywood would do. The reason behind this I personally think is because Hollywood is like a monopoly but TV series are more dominate so its more common to see different race of actors (this is based on just how I feel, so I may be wrong).

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I rarely watch TV shows or series from the United States but I found what you said very interesting. It is a little confusing to me that how is the TV industry showing positive images of African Americans or black people in general but then the movie industry do not. I wouldn’t say talking about Asian Americans would be off topic because they are also considered as the minorities in the U.S. movie industry. As an Asian myself I have the same amount of hope as you wanting to see African and Asian Americans represented more in the mainstream films. It is sad for me to realize that the most Americans are resisting racial equality, especially after the result of this year’s election.

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  21. Derp ⋅

    When I came to this topic, I felt it’s very relatable to how Asians have been portrayed in American films.
    While these blackploitation films may have raised awareness of black people, they certainly have produced unnecessary stereotypes that must have troubled the actual black people. Same applies to the case with Asian people. The case can be generally and roughly divided into two: Japanese and Chinese (or other Asian races). As for the depiction of Japanese, it has been disrespectfully biased toward how “old and cultural” they are regarded as. By that, I mean they portray some samurai/ninja stuff–which do not even exist today–and old temple-like architectures in the middle of Tokyo. To me, Tokyo is more about all the modernization concentrated in a small region and it is obvious that there aren’t old big temple standing around here and there. Plus, the people who live there and go there are modernized people and not like Samurai and Ninja. In terms of personality, Japanese people are portrayed as kinda shy and definitely BAD at speaking English. I don’t know much about how Chinese are portrayed, but I do strongly feel that the films do the similar harm: focusing on stereotypical things like historical depiction and disregarding how they are today. These kinds of depiction makes some people think that the misrepresented (Asian, black, etc) are as how those films depict. On the other hand, I cannot deny that it is still better than absolutely negative depiction born from the past or severe bias. For example, with ill intention of the filmmakers, Japanese could be portrayed as the race that has caused Pearl Harbor, Chinese could be portrayed as the race that eats dogs, German could be portrayed as the race that had Hitler..,the list goes on. These are NOT what I think of them, but these could be something that could be said or portrayed by some of really offensive films. Although the films could misrepresent the minorities to some extent, they could at least introduce them to those who do not even know anything about the minorities. I hear that some people come to Japan thinking that they can see very amazing, old and cultural side of Japan depicted by some films or something, ending up seeing much more of modernized and unidealized sides of Japan. But this means that those films actually motivated those people to come to Japan. Though the reality was different, they gave those people the chance to know the truth.
    Thus, I figured that films that exploit some stereotypes sometimes do slightly good things to some extent sometimes, introducing something unknown to people. But I do feel that excessive exploitation of stereotypes will bring harm to the minorities.

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  22. jonsnow ⋅

    To be honest, I was pretty scared to post on this particular thread for fear of saying the wrong thing or offending someone unintentionally. I think the best way to go is to just go for it with my honest opinion. Blaxploitation is a word I actually only learned recently, slightly before we started discussing it in class. It’s one of those words you kind of automatically dislike, because the meaning is right there in the word: exploitation of black people/culture, which as we all know is something Americans are very sensitive about because of its shameful connotations in American history. I first heard the term used in relation to the newest Netflix Marvel series, Luke Cage, because the original comic series was released at the height of the Blaxploitation era in the 70s. Luke Cage was the first black superhero to receive his own comic book, which is one of the reasons why this series was so heavily anticipated, this paired with a nearly all African-American cast and references to current events relating to race, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. I researched heavily into the publication’s history because I was interested in what the show derived from its Blaxploitation roots. Like all Blaxploitation movies, the soundtrack is heavily inspired by black culture (funk/soul) and also features hip-hop from the 1990s. It indeed fits the bill of the Blaxploitation subgenre and features an urban ghetto, drug dealers, hit men, and negative white characters (politicians/corrupt cops). The series has drawn some very mild criticism from some very small-minded people claiming the show to be “too black” and “anti-white.” I truly hope those people take a closer look at literally every other show or movie made today if they want to see more white people. A quote I read from the show’s creator, Cheo Hodari Coker, really resonated with me: “All black art is always judged to illuminate our experience and prove that our stories and our history and our lives matter.” He stated that he wanted the Luke Cage character to be a black hero, one that didn’t happen to be black, but where it’s a part of his identity which in effect is a part of him. This form of Blaxploitation is in my opinion a strong token of black empowerment, and unlike the Blaxploitation films of the past where they mostly perpetuate damaging stereotypes about black people.

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  23. Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

    The blaxploitation in films is such a controversial subject to talk about. It was a cinematographic movement, derived from the exploitation genre, that had a relevant role in portraying minority groups on the big screen. Considering the historical background, these type of portrait was utilized in small productions during the 1970’s in order to give more participation to African American actors.

    In fact, this movement had an important and significative role to African American actors and actresses, providing them more opportunities in major film roles. Consequently, they began to gain more visibility and a better perspective in the movie industry, what is really positive. In addition, the pictures also denounced themes such as slavery and miscegenation, taking place especially in the South (United States). Also, regarding the effort of African American citizens during the Civil Rights Movement, the blaxploitation can be considered a great victory. As black Americans have more space in the entertainment industry, it means that now they present a bigger social relevance.

    However, there are some opinions against the blaxploitation, mainly because the stereotypical way how African American are portrayed in the pictures. In some pictures, African Americans are portrayed as a drug dealer or criminals, even considering that they were the protagonists. So, is it worth to be the main character, even if you are being stereotypically portrayed? Personally, I think yes.

    Despite the fact that black characters were poorly portrayed in some films, it surely gave more projection to African American actors and actresses. This is clear in the modern cinema as well, regarding important names, such as Will Smith and Viola Davis. Besides, the questioning of racism and slavery in US makes the blaxploitation cinema movement very significant in America history.

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  24. karltuj

    One thing I may have not had the time to mention in class today is that it’s very likely that the surprising commercial success of this film category actually was a factor that has lead to its decline.
    Although these films were originally made by African-American auteurs for an African-American audience, after initial success, white filmmakers (producers and directors) joined in and African-Americans likely have felt that they were “disowned” from their own films. On top of that, these bigger productions now targeted and reached white audiences, so that the stereotypes which these films repeated over and over again (which lead to satiation) became harmful for African-Americans in U.S. society. The Anti-Blaxploitation Movement was certainly concerned about negative stereotyping versus a (at least partially) racist white audience that saw these films from their biased point of view.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      This answers my question about why these movies went disappeared. This reminds me of Taiwan, where some product from foreign countries would be popular and everyone would try to find shops who imported those. They are usually sold 2 to 3 times as the original price so there will be a lot of people trying to ride the train and to make big profit. However, those products were popular because they were rare but with all these people importing, it does not feel special anymore. So the products started to decline in Taiwan and people who still haven’t sold theirs would be losing quite some money. I feel like these people didn’t just lose what they invested in, but they also ruined what people were trying to do and created.

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  25. uruwa ⋅

    I’ve always seen Blaxploitation films parodied in other films and TV shows, but I had never actually seen clips of any of the actual movies. After seeing some of the ones in class, I find it hard to differentiate between which films are serious and which are purposely a bit more ridiculous (i.e. Blacula). I imagine movies such as that one were received like many B-rate horror films. So bad, that it’s interesting and entertaining.

    Some of the other movies that we were shown clips of, however, showed much more promise. The one where the woman threatens and kills the men that harassed her sister seemed to have a much deeper plotline, though the title (which turned out to be the woman’s name) still played on that Blaxploitation stereotype.

    Though this genre was a way for the black minority of America to break into the film business, it didn’t exactly leave a good lasting impression. Instead, we’re left with stereotypes and parodies of black culture from the 70s.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I agree with what you said about the clips that we watched during the class. I really couldn’t tell if those movies are serious or not. I remember studying about the Hollywood formula and I feel like maybe these kinds of Blaxploitation or just exploitation films in general could also be considered as B-movies. Like you said about Blacula, it was so bad that it was entertaining, and that was part of the unintented humor aspect of the formula. I am not quite sure about the reason behind why these kind of movies do not last very long after its existence. I would believe that it probably is because that these films are showing more stereotypes instead of the real representations of the race. And eventually they were tired of seeing these exploitation films and the movies lost their targeted audiences.

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      • uruwa ⋅

        I believe you’re right. This genre was brought to an end because the African American community began to see the harmful effects as the genre continued on into the late 1970s. What possibly started as something that was aimed to bring the community into the industry ended up harming it more in the end.
        As for most of these movies being B-movies, I think they were. At least, Blacula definitely looked like a B-movie!

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  26. mkt18 ⋅

    Blaxploitation film is interesting topic. I have never heard this word and I do not know much about funk music or soul music, but I like this concept of Blaxploitation. Because I am not American, so I do not much about American history, but it was a good action to promote black actor as a main character. People have had stereotype against black people for a long time, so some action was needed. In Jesse James`s film, black talent appeared as like a servant, however, in Blaxploitation film, black talent acts a main character. I know there is still some stereotype against black people and African American dislike this genre. This genre was a short period, but it impacted on film industry by music. It is difficult to avoid negative stereotype, but somehow it gives positive impression.
    This discussion is kind of hard. I understand it is difficult to avoid stereotype. For example, in Japan, I do not see practically woman heroin in Japanese film. However in Holly Wood film, there are so many woman heroin who fight against a bad person like Caries Angel or Alice of Bio Hazard. Because in Japan, woman role is still low compare to the U.S and Japanese woman were seemed weak. It is kind of stereotype in Japan and it is difficult to solve.
    For main stream film, minority is difficult to play an active part. Mainstream film make based on general belief, so reducing stereotyping is hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BIGANTEATER ⋅

      Your non american perspective is very interesting. It made me think, how cool would it be if a new film genre was birthed in Japan of super strong women kicking men’s asses. Instead of the mousic being funky, its all some new genre of fusion Enka. And the women all embrace the streotypes of like modest, soft spoken women, yet they kick ass. Just like how in blaxploitation, the african american embraced all stereotypes and used it to their advantage. Its hard to say exactly what genre will be birthed in Japan from the opression of women but something is bound to come from it whether it be in the form of film or some other medium.

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      • jonsnow ⋅

        I am yearning for a kickass Asian female character to be born from the ashes of all these exploitation movies. I do think it would be cool to see a modest, soft-spoken woman to kick ass, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with a confident woman taking these reigns as well. The modest, soft-spoken woman is already a stereotype that a lot of male filmmakers have used to their advantage and used to contribute to the oppression of women. It implies that a soft-spoken woman who keeps her opinions to herself or has no opinions at all is a more viable or desirable type of woman, which is not something I think should be advocated, especially to young women.

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  27. GreenBanana ⋅

    Among the topics what we’ve learned in the class so far, I felt the Blaxploitation is very interesting. I had no idea until Professor Karl explained to us. I knew that there were segregation and discrimination towards black people was occured in the United states. I have heard everything was segregated like they can’t use same rest room with White people etc.. They have been trough the harsh experience in the past. But I believe this Blaxploitation was the key for black people to involve in Hollywood movie scene. Blaxploitation was first started and made specifically for and urban black audience, but it soon broadened across racial or ethnic lines. Its often used common white stereotypes about black people. There are many films that are stereotyped sertain races. Like what professor Karl said about black facing, yellow facing etc. Im pretty sure there must be such a thing for every race expect white people. However, Blaxploitation films is powerful. One of my favorite film “Do the Right Thing” by Spike Lee. It was a story beef between African Americans and Italian pizza shop(whites). African American were treated unequally because they were being judged and being stereotyped. The film ends with a death of the radio guy(black) he was shoot by a police but he didn’t do such a things that brings to death. Also their sound track “fight the power” by public enemy was very intense. They are claiming “fight the power” and I believe when they say power they are referring to police or government because they were treated unequally. I really love these kind of film that are powerful and has a message in it. I hope this is one the the blaxploitation film but this genre definitely helped or gave a way for African American to involve in Hollywood. Its quite interesting because we don’t still that much Asians actors in Hollywood scene but there are many good African American actors nowadays. As far as I know Ken Watanabe is the most famous Hollywood actor in Japan because he could speak good enough english. The film, “letters from Iwo jima” directed by Clint Eastwood, the main character was acted by Ninomiya. He is a member of Japanese boys band called Arashi, and Im guessing people really expect good result from him. However he did amazing acting and Clint Eastwood actually mentioned that he is a really good actor after the movie was filmed. He would have been picked probably because he was famous and popular in Japan. Im pretty sure Clint Eastwood didn’t pick him because he knew he can do really good acting. Its true that Asian typically cant speak English and language barrier can be the reason. However, there are still some who could speak fluent english but we don’t see much. Its still rare for Hollywood to cast a asian actor in the main role of the movie. Also, Its quite sad to see that white film can earn much more than Asian acted films

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    • GreenBanana ⋅

      To add on , I felt In the Breaakfast at Tiffany’s Mr Yunioshi acted by Mickey Roony’s was quite offensive. When people yellow face usually they cast white people putting make ups to make look like Asian but it dosent look natural, and its just not right. I thought why won’t they just hire an Asian actor? And its quite sad that when they yellow face, usually those in villan or just the bad guys. Its good to be diverse culture but this is the negative point on mix races nation. In Japan, we don’t have diversity like America. Majority poeple are Japanese some zainichi koreans(adapted koreans residing in Japan)but I’ve never heard of such issue in Japan. Back in the days, we also had discrimination toward zainichi Koreans but mostly we would not know if we see their names because they have similar facial features to Japanese.

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  28. I loved learning alot about Blaxploitation films based off of the influences i had from my child hood, growing up with a african american father. When I used to go down to Louisiana where my dad’s side of the family is from, they would play music like the ones that plays in Blaxploitation films with their funky music.

    Until this day, I enjoy listening to music with these types of genre such as “Earth Wind and Fire- Yearin Learnin” for example.

    Its great how much soundtracks play a very important role in scenes, even if the scene was only for a split second, sound creates another image that can be followed by what is happening in the film.

    Also the great thing about music, is that if the film was a hit, and that film had its own music or sound to it, the sound can be memorized and noticed very well for example the famous “Jaws” sound which brings you back with an image of a great white shark about to attack the human. The power of sound. It always amazes me

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  29. RM ⋅

    Now blaxploitation is not a genre or niche I was overly familiar with before this class, or familiar with at all really. I had ove course seen some blaxploitation or at least knew of it. I had before this class seen black dynamite , which is a parody of blaxploitation, I had seen both the cartoon and the movie. I kind of understood that these films were produced as over the top as possible and that they appealed to a certain market. I however was unaware that these movies were at first created by african americans for african american audiences. I believed they were called blaxploitation because it was white directors and production companies trying to exploit the African american market for movies by making terrible stereotyped characters, hoping to get a quick buck on the novelty for African americans seeing themselves represented on screen. Of course I now know that what I just described is in some ways what it turned into when it was on its way out of fashion. I had no idea it was started by african americans with the intention of making films for their own communities. It was crazy to see also just how over the top they were and how, as shown in class they influenced mainstream cinema. I never would have guessed that funky jazz for motion picture soundtracks was a trend started in blaxploitation. It was interesting too to see the parallels between kung fu movies that bruce lee was famous for and blaxploitation.The combat especially in the clips of that kung fu style blaxploitation movie were awesome!. I love kung fu movies and so it was really cool to see a side of that genre I had never thought of before. In terms of the evidence of inluence in Cinema , I was wondering about certain comedy films like tyler parry produces , who often feature very sterotyped black characters and play it off for laughs. Would movies like the madea series be considered modern blaxploitation ? I am genuinely curious where films like that would fit in terms of genre. I try to stay away from the topic of race in general within these discussions, not because I don’t wish to understand, but rather to avoid sensitive topics. This is perhaps not the best option and I am starting to understand that, especially when it come to race and white washing in hollywood , that unless we talk about it nothing will change. I genuinely believe that things are changing for the better and I hope they continue too. With the internet now and social media I feel its much more likely that a company will hear outcry from the people and eventually change their ways.This is something I may further discuss in the free discussion as its getting a bit off topic here. As a last side note, I have not watched much of it myself but the Boondocks on adult swim is a cartoon show with a mainly black cast which uses from what I can tell, extreme black sterotypes for humor I am curious as to where that fits or what others think of the show.

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  30. TaiwanSwag ⋅

    I found it very interesting that although we are so much more advanced culturally and morally than before, we could still see inequality and underrepresenting in modern cinema. For all these times we heard people saying that there is no more racism and sexism like before, but the stats and facts never showed it that way. I am not sure if this is relevant to this topic or not, but ever since the presidential election people were talking about how Trump wouldn’t get elected because of his racial and sexual rhetoric. Then it turned out that America is so much more racist than people thought.
    From our last breakout session, it was clear that Asian actors didn’t get nearly as much chances to be in the mainstream films for a starring role. I went back and look at the slides and I feel like all these stats chains with each other. Minorities did not have the same amount of chances to be in a mainstream movie, as a result, they had less chance to win awards. I also found something interesting when I was looking through the stats. Even in the minority categories the males had more movies distributed by major studios. So I guess that’s double biased and discrimination.

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  31. TaiwanSwag ⋅

    I was wondering about the real reason why these Blaxploitation movies ended up disappearing after the 70s. After reading Karl’s comment, it was very interesting to know that the success that they had made with these kinds of movies are actually the reason that lead to its downfall. I think that this trend is still very applicable in modern days as technology being more advanced every single day. It was like when the iPhone started to make success then other phone companies started to rush in to try to get a share of the pie. However, a lot of them failed miserably, like Nokia or Motorola. It was a shame when something successful was finally created by their own race, then have the race who were against them for decades ruined it once again.
    I also wonder if there was anyone trying to do the same movies for Asian Americans. I have heard of the term Blaxploitation before but not Asian or Yellowploitation. I really wished someone had done it so Asians might have a chance of getting representing well and more in the mainstream movies. But now I think about it, maybe someone would have done it and made success, then people started to make the same movies with heavy stereotyping then ruined it as well.

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    • liarina ⋅

      I am also curious about the same thing as you! I always think that films can actually change people’s thoughts because it somehow contain the purpose of education and what we watch from a movie, it might also reflect in the true society. if blaxploitation can be such successful so that it could reduce or even dismiss the discrimination against African-American in the society. Maybe there are also something can be done to help those minorities to get equal chances no matter on which professional fields. And from the personal perspective, I think it is something can be expected in the future since you mention that people now have more advanced technology, everything become more possible.

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  32. TaiwanSwag ⋅

    After reading all the blog posts, I have come to a conclusion about Blaxploitation movies for myself. These movies weren’t bad to begin with, they were having actions, sexual appeals, and anything that could engage people to watch. Moreover, these movies created more chances for African Americans to be the driving force in films. Even Hollywood movie productions started to cast African Americans in their films as influence from Blaxploitation films. However, what made these films not as great as it could had been was the people who tried to do the same movie but instead put their stereotypes in it which eventually disgusted them. I saw people commenting about how they would never thought that these films were exploitation films as a child, and I absolutely agree. To add one that, I also believe that if someone had never interacted with African Americans or black people in general and saw these movies, they must have been thinking that what they are seeing are true about the race. And these stereotypes eventually became racial profiling which the United States have been struggling with for decades. I am not optimistic about any big changes coming in recent years as the Hollywood is still casting Westerners for Asian characters instead of giving the minorities chances.

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    • Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

      Mostly I agree with you, but I think you should be more optimistic about the changes in Hollywood. Of course, it is not going to be a major change in the whole industry, though I expect some small and significant changes in the way. Firstly, the introduction of actors and actresses with different nationalities in important films and series is a good starting point. For example, the Netflix series Sense8 has a total distinct background, presenting characters from at least 6 totally different countries. The first season of Sense8 was a success, mainly because the international landscape, the series is screened in 6 countries, and the brilliant directing skills by the brothers Wachowski*.

      In addition, the also Netflix series Orange Is The New Black is introducing many good actors and actresses from different ethnical groups. As the background is inside a prison, the series denounces and criticizes diverse social issues and racist behavior. This is so positive because all the characters have some kind of importance in the drama, Therefore, there are some small changes in Hollywood regarding ethnical inclusion. So be positive!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah i feel that way about hollywood also, we have to be patient for change. Race is a touchy subject that we all must respect in our own way so rushing it is not the solution at all.

        Im a huge OITNB fan and like what Pedro said, it criticizes the diverse social and racial behaviors in a more positive manner so that people can watch it and not have a negative perspective on races coming together.

        Although many many view OITNB to being very offensive, due to the language, nudity and subject, that is their own perspective that everyone else as an audience may not agree upon but must respect.

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      • jonsnow ⋅

        I am definitely one of those people that hovers between positivity for representation in Hollywood and cynicism towards the unchanging Hollywood landscape where white actors are still the majority race you see starring in films. Television has definitely progressed much further than films in regards to open ethnicity casting. I think it’s because television programs are trying to set precedent for shows that are successful in part because of its diversity. But because of the short and quick nature of films and their releases and distribution, there leaves less time to think about diversity and more focus on mass appeal and star value, and the majority of billable movie stars at the moment are white. Films hope to make back the money the spent making the movie within a year of its release, but television gives you more time and content to familiarize yourself with all of the actors, including the people of color. Original shows on Netflix are particularly progressive, so it makes sense that some of its most popular shows (Orange Is the New Black, Master of None, Sense8) have the most diverse casts.

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  33. liarina ⋅

    Blaxploitation is an interesting topic and I would like to call it very successful. Some people might thing they do not learn or gain something from a movie. Well, they are wrong. In my opinion, every person should learn something after watching a film, and it is cannot be denied that Blaxploitation help to shape or even build the certain stereotype which make it so controversial. For example, back in 1970s that black people are always bad person in film, they either to be the criminal like gangster or to be weird people. And this also remind me the blind DJ in Vanishing Point 1971 because the DJ is somehow groofy in the film and it kinda seem to be normal for him for doing that. Furthermore, usually the sittings of Blaxploitation movies are in the poor urban neighborhood which also give the image that black people are all in poverty and even slavery if the films are produced in the south. Nevertheless, it is glad that this kind of genre is created so that people can look into what was happening in the society during that time so public can try to figure out something to stop it and start to make change and also help colored people to build up themselves nowadays.
    In addition, as we speak of the Asian face in American film industry and I think it is also interesting for me since I am an Asian myself, but the stereotype for it didn’t go away. Nevertheless, I think it enhances it in some way. It can’t be denied that Asian is heavily categorized in film with small eyes, black hair, yellow skin and martial arts. It is like every Asian have to look like Bruce Lee and he is undefeatable (By the way the fighting scene in the room full with mirrors just amazing. it completely shows how intense the fight and make me so nervous for the character might get hurt).
    I personally have many experiences that while talking about Asian actors with Americans and they always give out the name of Bruce Lee and talk about martial arts. Isn’t it weird that although it already has been a long time, these two elements are still what will come up with western people’s mind? Furthermore, when we watching movies even in nowadays in 2016, there are still many Asian faces are used to be the villain such as the Ken Jeoung in Hangover series and Ken Watanabe in Batman Begins (2005) and Inception (2010). Although filmmakers might thing the exotic faces are attractive, it is somehow sad for me to watch that this kind of stereotype is deeply rooted and it is obvious hard to be changed.

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  34. Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

    The classic Training Day (2001) with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke is a clear example of how blaxploitation is a good deal for Hollywood and African American actors in general. I already discussed that in class, but I wanted to make a specific post about the subject, due to my admiration for this film.

    Training Day tells the story of a freshman cop (Ethan Hawke) that has just got a spot in the LA police department. He meets his partner (Denzel Washington), who is kind of an unusual cop. He is dressed like a gangster, what is controversial considering that cops should put gangsters in jail and not dress up like one. Well, anyway, they start their training day, though the freshmen find out that his new partner is really a gangster.

    Denzel Washington’s character is one of the most corrupt cops in LA, what contrasts with the recently promoted fella who is too ethical. Hence, the African American is portrayed as the bad guy, even in regard to his role as a police officer. While the Ethan Hawke’s character is the fair and naive white hero. Surely, it is not the ideal portrait of African American people, regarding that even a black cop is corrupt. Then, it is negatively affecting African American people, enforcing the stereotype of young and middle-aged black men as outlaws and thieves.

    On the other hand, Denzel was the perfect match for the role, as he made a performance that gave him the Oscar for best acting in 2002. Also, the audience has evolved, so supposedly they know how to separate a good acting from an unhealthy stereotype. Therefore, we can conclude that even negative portraits are awarded in the cinema industry if it is well done by a great actor. So, the blaxploitation opens thousand of opportunities for African American in past, present and future.

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  35. itsthesky20 ⋅

    This topic I think is one of the controversial topics that we have tackled in this class. First of all Blaxpoitation is a genre that started during the early mid 1970’s. It also started with a positive purpose which is to feature african american actors and actresses putting them in lights for more lead roles. This is to show that not only white americans can only be in the spotlight. And they did achieve that before the mid 70’s. Black american actors were able to prove that they could also be appealing to the audience. There were also a lot films that was written procuced and directed for this genre at the time and they finally were being recognized in Hollywood films.

    However when we refer to the name Blaxploitation, obviously things did not work really well for this genre for a long time. The genre unfortunately to say was short lived. There was a backlash against this genre. People have began to be “prejudistic” about this whole idea of having african americans being in the spotlight. The term Blaxpoitation was coined from that. The american films started to feature african american actors in a certain light in through stereotypical characterization. It is also always showed in a some sort of negative way.

    I personally think that this topic is very interesting. This type of stereotypical roles are not only evident for african americans but also in different races. I remember the film that we watched in class, Jesse James. In that movie Jesse had a helper and that helper or slave happened to be a african american. I see that particular pattern in many of american films in different kinds of genres too, roles that are in low social status happens to be black and or sometimes also latinos. It is sad that blaxploitation existed a long time ago but when i look at films produced at this time now I still recognized that kind of exploitation.

    This does not only happen in american films I also think. Growing up in an asian country, I also see the same thing in some of our films. Roles like, servers, drivers,maids, etc happens to be actors that have a darker skin color or actors that have darker skin color and have verly curly hair. Now that I think about it that physical characterization just sounds like a person that comes from an african root. If a person is dark skinned that person will mostly like be casted for a almost like a negative connotated role and if a person is white or light skinned then that person would be most likely to be casted for a better role.

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  36. mkt18 ⋅

    Genre of Blaxploitation film was interesting topic to discuss even today. And I enjoyed watching it. Even though racial discrimination was seemed to come to an end from1960 to 1970, the stereotype towards African-American existed. Then African-American suffered from those stereotype. They were illustrated as servant in the film like Jesse James, and other some films illustrated African-American as a criminal or enemy. Hero was always white actor in the past. Even today, we can watch some African- American hero, but it is not enough comparing to white actors. Also, African-American actors are less than white actors, so they do not have enough chance to act hero, I thought. Indeed, still today a criminal or an evil tend to be illustrated by African-American. Even though people had stereotype towards African-American at that time, they have concerns about the issue of racial discrimination. Therefore, the producers though that they could get profit using this topic. Even though it was low budget film, I could see the film industry tried to get profit in order to show Blaxploitation film.it was not good thoughts to gain profit by taking serious topic, but because of this movement, it can show issue publicly. Therefore, it was good time to bring up social issue. Blaxploitation was also good for African-American producers and actors. Because Blaxploitation films main characters were African American, they had a chance to act mainly.
    The second interesting point is music. I had not listened hip-hop music actually, but through watching film, I realized it makes the film colorful. Even though, Blaxploitation was ended in short term, the influence of black music has still lasted and consumed. It was a great combination both the film and the music. Music helped and supported story, and it illustrates African-American culture, I think.
    In Blaxploitation film, I like clothes which actors wore. I could see African American culture through their fashion. Their clothes seems more flashily than other genre films. It is interesting even a character of detective wears colorful shorts. I think a detective acted by white actor might wear dark color clothes. Overall, I like this genre of Blaxploitation film. It was good business to take social problem. Even though it was B-movie and movie for mostly African American people, it is important to show issue. understand it is still difficult to reduce stereotype towards African American, but trying to avoid issue is important.

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  37. Peach ⋅

    It saddens me to say that I have actually never heard of “Blaxploitation” until now. And even if I had, I would never have guessed just from the word that it could relate to cinema and Hollywood. Well, maybe Hollywood…and cinema…Ok so it’s not that hard to make the connection. Upon hearing the word, one could make a decent guess at what it means because it’s literally there in the word. “African-Americans being exploited”, is pretty much the ticket there. And in this case, African-Americans and other minorities being exploited to further someone’s Hollywood career and/or to peg them down into just a stereotype. I do not want to act like I know everything and anything there is to know about this topic like most people probably think they do, but I definitely want to get more educated on the subject and hopefully begin to understand this term and its relation to past cinema. Not offending anybody is probably extremely difficult since I’m looking at this through what may as well be a newborn’s eyes, but I do hope this will all be taken as purely academic…
    Before going into this, I need to understand the “official” definition for Blaxploitation. It seems to be a term from back in the 1970’s that referred to films strongly aimed at black audiences. The genres of these films were mainly action so naturally there was more than enough violence, which leads to the glorification of it and the stereotypical characterization that was extremely offensive, even back then. Imagining what the reaction would be to such an obviously racist and outwardly insulting type of film in this current generation, is terrifying and depressing. Depressing because, honestly, the reactions from this modern society probably wouldn’t be as outraged and insulted as we would hope they would be. Especially considering our current political position we’re in as a country, a majority of the people who would view a Blaxploitation film, if it were to exist now, would probably make it into one big joke and just laugh about it, or maybe even, dare I say, agree with its views. Going back a bit, it’s important to note that while our current predicament and time period is in its own trouble (politically, socially, economically etc.), the time when Blaxploitation rose into prominence was also a turbulent time. American race relations and the civil rights movement was just beginning to explode into society’s consciousness, and “Black Power” protests and awareness were also quickly rising to everyone’s attention. While Hollywood may be one of the worst examples when it comes to gender/racial equality, even they were beginning to find it difficult to ignore black society. While all the protests, political activists, and battles in and out of the courtroom were going on outside, black filmmakers and actors had begun to make their way into Hollywood. In short, the civil rights movement and some serious bad financial luck would eventually come together and birth, you guessed it, Blaxploitation.
    The best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) example of Blaxploitation has got to be the film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. The title should already give its audience an idea of just how horrible a film it’s going to be. With two weeks and a crap budget, this film was born. Although it may be terrible to us now, back then? It became a huge hit with the African-American audience. Possibly because, for once, a black man was fighting and winning against the system in a Hollywood film! This of course hit the hearts of its intended audience, not to mention the fact that it was officially rated “X by an all-white jury”, made it all the more appealing to African-Americans and possibly even minorities in general. At least a white man wasn’t winning right? With this reception, Sweetback grossed 10 million dollars, which was extremely successful for that time period.
    This brings up an interesting idea. Of course in that era, when African-Americans were finally rising from the “ghetto’s” and getting their voice out there, many of their actions were fueled by anger, so of course they’d be overjoyed to see themselves finally represented in media, and to top it off, they were beating white guys! Perfect! But, if Blaxploitation somehow made a comeback NOW, in this era, would the reaction be the same, worse, or better? Would African-Americans be charged up with rage once again because of our current state as a society? Or would they be offended, seeing themselves portrayed as EXACTLY what our esteemed president makes them seem like? Which is to say, violent, filled with hate towards white people and just outright “ghetto”? I honestly don’t know the answer, seeing as how America has been able to surprise me with its decisions lately…
    It’s quite sad to think there had to even be a time like this, when African-Americans and minorities alike felt the need to represent themselves in this violent fashion, just to heard. Even now, protests, shootings, and senseless murders of minorities are popping back up (or had they never left…) and it seems as if, no matter how many times history tries to tell us what we did wrong, to learn from our past mistakes, we will keep repeating the SAME mistakes, the SAME protests and the SAME results. I strongly believe that media has one of the strongest influences on us as a society, and if used correctly, which it really never is, we could actually improve! Not just America, but the rest of the world, as a whole, could definitely stop, listen, learn and try to act accordingly…
    Aside from the negative outcomes, Blaxploitation and the legacy it left behind has, mostly, left a positive mark on African-American film history. It allowed, now legendary, black actors to rise up to the equal ranks of their fellow white actors, and to this day they continue to rise, most recently, with Moonlight winning Best Picture over La La Land. A movie focusing entirely on white people and how much they love Hollywood, lost to Moonlight, a masterpiece. How great is that?

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