Exploring the Development of the Blaxploitation Era and the African American Heroine
There is a great deal to learn from the Blaxploitation Era of the film industry.
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“The only crime I'm guilty of is being a young black woman”
Blaxploitation cinema has been critiqued and argued over since its inception in the 1970s. With the likes of Hattie McDaniel and Pam Grier, Black women were placed into the film industry to fulfill roles that were deemed “necessary” yet have been linked to the perpetuation of damaging stereotypes. Arguments over whether the genre was exploitative (as the name suggests) or whether it benefitted Black actresses continue to be had, but there's value in revisiting some of the biggest films of the Blaxploitation era with a 21st-century perspective.
From the 1940s onwards, African American actresses were cast in roles that devalued their overall femininity and limited their screen tim…
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