Blaxploitaiton Films

Blaxploitation films were a genre identified in the 1970s.  The term originated with “exploitation films,” which sought to attract audiences by featuring sensationalistic sex, violence, and crime, often with heavy use of special effects.  Blaxploitation films also exhibit these qualities, with specifically African American content (cast, settings, funk and soul music soundtracks) and aimed at an African American audience.

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Especially before the 1960s, the American film industry exploited African American stereotypes for their entertainment value.  These stereotypes characterized African Americans in a wide variety of negative ways: lazy, stupid, vulgar, sexually predatory (male and female), violent, dishonest, primitive, and so forth.  Other types were intended to be positive, but were equally demeaning: cute, simple, passive, maternal, loyal, sexually liberated, and with a variety of talents such as cooking that identified African Americans as servants.  Often the actors hired for such parts were white men and women who performed in blackface, a style of makeup that made their skin dark and enlarged physical features associated with people of African descent, such as thick lips.  While many Hollywood films contain racist stereotypes, the selection below is limited to better known examples. 

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Title Year Actor / Actress
Amazing Grace 1974  
Baadasssss Cinema 2002  
Black Caesar 1973  
Black Girl 1972  
Boyz n the Hood 1991  
Brother John 1971 Sidney Poitier
Buck and the Preacher 1972 Sidney Poitier
Classified X 1998  
Claudine 1974  
Cleopatra Jones 1973  
Coffy 1973  
Coming to America 1988  
Cooley High 1975  
Cornbread, Earl & Me 1975  
Cotton Comes Harlem 1970  
Education of Sonny Carsom, The 1974  
Final Comedown, The 1972  
Foxy Brown 1974  
Harlem Nghits 1989 Eddie Murphy
Lost Man, The 1969 Sidney Poitier
Mack, The 1973  
Panther 1995  
Posse 1993  
Set It Off 1996  
Shaft 1971  
Spook who Sat by the Door, The 1973  
Super Fly 1972  
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song 1971  
They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! 1970 Sidney Poitier
Uptown Satuday Night 1974 Sidney Poitier

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