Melki On Black Movies That Are Not Part Of The Blaxploitation Era

trick baby title

Well, Melki, you seem to have a lot of free time on your hands, so tell me what’s going on with you.

Watching the movie “Trick Baby” on Bounce TV and amazed how much better the so-called Blaxploitation films were in terms of addressing racism than an overwhelming majority of the black films of today. How much better the dialogue is and understanding of how the system of white supremacy is standing on our neck squeezing the literal blood out of our communities. When I watch Shaft, SuperFly, The Mack and tons of lesser known movies from the 70’s, I see human beings completely aware of their struggle and what they are struggling against and who. Most of all, you see that they are struggling to be accepted as human beings. They are not proving this to themselves but to the rest of the world. I recently saw Claudine again with James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll and a young Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, we all remember from “Welcome Back Kotter,” and it was refreshing in that their humanity shined against the oppression they faced. They refused to bow down or scrape or question their value as a human being simply to survive. When we look at a majority of our movies over the past 30 years, they present many of the same struggles with a major, major exemption. They portray the vivid and beautiful struggle minus the structural oppression that subconsciously takes the lens off the true culprits that create and maintain so-called ghettos, Hoods, physical and mental. They don’t address the systematic oppression under white supremacy – they instead tend to focus on environment and the prejudices of the few. In Cornbread Earl and Me, the failure of Black Lives to matter and overt retaliation for presumption of our humanity was clear and front center, without transforming Negus into their often and always incorrectly used “worse enemy.” We shifted from Blaxploitation to Blockploitation.

Maybe Hollywood learned something and made it a point to no longer allow these types of films to exist for fear that if this generation reconnects the dots between art and protest, real change is possible? Or simply maybe American materialism has won over previous generations to the extent that they no longer saw the connection between art and protest except for a few exemptions such as Spike Lee, Haile Gerima and the conscious hiphop movement? Or just maybe these films exist but are banished to some artistic prison never to be shared among the masses? Regardless, there remains hope. Hope that we see in the massive mobilization my young people and students over issues like police brutality. More than likely, this generation gets it and more than likely we’ll have art that once again not only fights the power, but kicks the power’s ass! Overstand! 

You act like you have discovered a hidden gold deposit.

Man, I had netflix and now have Amazon video and there are so so many movies from that era that are dope that most of the current generation including ours have never heard of. And the majority of them had a message about fighting the system. Some ain’t made so great but what moves me most about them is the dialogue. I don’t feel that way listening to whoever is writing these films nowadays except for a few ocassions. They talked to each other like Negus was intelligent and could go deep, not like they were 2 dimensional characters. And maybe that is it right on the head – a lot of the people writing and making the films had enough real experiences to talk. This is the way I plan to write my movies. Growing up in the projects, I never got the feeling that Negus was stupid. They was the smartest mawfukas I ever knew. A lot of movies nowadays go for the confused look as if a Negus don’t understand the why or hows of their situation, which I guess is dramatic if you want to stroll someone along because your plot is weak? You find yourself staring at the movie like why didn’t he say something? Like damn, if he actually responded intelligently in that scene maybe a few more intelligent scenes would have to be written and that might fuck up the cookie cutter – bad hollywood films for dummies step by step process! lol There are some great people out there, so I don’t want to lump everyone in together…this is an attack on Hollywood and reasons why we’ve got to at least find a way to create our own studios and creative space, which some say the ATL might actually become once all that residual money from reality tv, strip clubs and hiphop starts growing dividends for folks’ children! lol

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