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Odie Henderson with Black Caesars And Foxy Cleopatras - A History of Blaxploitation Cinema

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
7:00pm - 8:00pm
No registration needed to attend in person
Livestreamed on Youtube
Suffolk University - Faculty Dining Room, Fourth Floor
Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont Street,
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
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Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras is a definitive account of Blaxploitation cinema—the freewheeling, often shameless, and wildly influential genre—from a distinctive voice in film history and criticism

In 1971, two films grabbed the movie business, shook it up, and launched a genre that would help define the decade. Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, an independently produced film about a male sex worker who beats up cops and gets away, and Gordon Parks’s Shaft, a studio-financed film with a killer soundtrack, were huge hits, making millions of dollars. Sweetback upended cultural expectations by having its Black rebel win in the end, and Shaft saved MGM from bankruptcy. Not for the last time did Hollywood discover that Black people went to movies too. The Blaxploitation era was born.

Written by Boston Globe film critic Odie Henderson, Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras is a spirited history of a genre and the movies that he grew up watching, which he loves without irony (but with plenty of self-awareness and humor.) Blaxploitation was a major trend, but it was never simple. The films mixed self-empowerment with exploitation, base stereotypes with essential representation that spoke to the lives and fantasies of Black viewers. The time is right for a reappraisal, understanding these films in the context of the time, and exploring their lasting influence.

Odie Henderson will be in conversation with Candace McDuffie, nationally acclaimed senior writer at The Root, who focuses on race, gender, and entertainment.

Odie "Odienator" Henderson is the chief film critic of the Boston Globe and runs the blogs Big Media Vandalism and Tales of OdieNary Madness.
Candace McDuffie is the Senior Writer at The Root who focuses on the intersection of race, gender and entertainment.

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