February 27, 2020

THE PERFECT SOUNDTRACK:

BLACK POWER, BLAXPLOITATION, & THE SOUNDS OF THE SEVENTIES (ASHAWNTA JACKSON, 2/26/20, Crime Reads)

But let's go back. Back before the fictional complicated man who was understood by no one but his woman (John Shaft), there was a real man named Melvin Van Peebles. Van Peebles was the writer, director, producer, composer, and star of the 1971 film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which tells the story of Sweetback, and his journey from his childhood in a brothel to revolutionary on the run. It was, he told Life magazine that year, "the first black movie that doesn't cop out." He's right about one thing; it doesn't cop out. Its graphic and unwavering eye (the film earned an X rating, which Van Peebles used in its marketing "Rated X by an all-white jury") may very well have been the catalyst for the Blaxploitation movement.[1] The soundtrack featured music from the then little-known group Earth, Wind, and Fire, interspersed with dialogue from the movie. There are some notable tracks, but unlike some of the ones that came later, the soundtrack for Sweetback feels disconnected as a standalone album. That would change a few months later when the Gordon Parks-directed Shaft starring Richard Roundtree as a tough, sexy private detective hit the screens, and the double album composed and performed by Isaac Hayes hit turntables. Not only did the album function as an amazing film score, it also works all by itself as a piece of 70s funk/soul.

Posted by at February 27, 2020 12:00 AM

  

« IF IT WERE APARTHEID THERE'D BE JIM CROW: | Main | BRING THEM ALL: »