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Cool Revival: Blaxploitation

A resurgence of blaxploitation -- Movies such as ''The Mack'' and ''Foxy Brown'' regain popularity

Okay, so Bob Dole didn't like the violence in True Romance — but what did he think of Christian Slater waxing passionate over the 1973 pimp epic The Mack? How does the presidential hopeful feel about Snoop's ''Doggy Dogg World,'' in which Foxy Brown's bodacious Pam Grier appears? And 24 years after Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song put the fear of God into any white person with the wisdom and fortitude to check it out, would the Kansas Republican rent what's now considered a classic?

Thanks to latter-day rappers and film nuts like Romance's Quentin Tarantino, blaxploitation is beautiful again. Tut-tutted by critics and bemoaned by some African-Americans when they hit theaters in the '70s (often in segregated distribution patterns), movies like Black Caesar and Coffy are enjoying a new cachet as action-packed parables of empowerment.

Their comeback has even given birth to a new film snob: Anyone can recite the ''Theme From Shaft'' rap, but only an aficionado can quote Rudy Ray Moore's Dolemite rhymes: ''He think he's bad; he ain't got no class. I'm gonna wrap this shotgun up his mutha...'' Never mind.

Originally posted Jun 30, 1995 Published in issue #281-282 Jun 30, 1995 Order article reprints
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