The Blaxploitation film movement started during the 1970’s and though it had a quick rise in popularity, its popularity didn’t last long. However, Blaxploitation movies, such as Super Fly, have had a major impact on the African-American community, especially those in the hip-hop community.
This movie poster for Super Fly showcases the main character, Priest, in his iconic clothing with cash in one hand and a gun in the other. His Cadillac Eldorado is in the background, as well as a woman wearing a yellow bikini who is leaning against the car. Even further in the background there are people fighting, and words hang to the left of the poster, “Super Hood, Super High, Super Dude…” The clothes that Super Fly wears have become an iconic symbol of pimps. Super Fly wears a maxi coat and a fedora, a style that grew immensely popular after the movie was released. With the gun he is holding, and the way he is standing, Super Fly gives a no-nonsense attitude.
Super Fly and Blaxploitation movies have had a major impact on the hip hop community. There have been many rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Ice-T that have adopted the no-nonsense pimp attitude that is shown in many Blaxploitation films. Blaxploitation films like Super Fly were incredibly popular during their heyday, and even today they are still popular. They influenced a way of dress, and an attitude that young African-Americans believed that they needed to adopt. Many people went out and bought maxi coats or fedoras after the movie and the Cadillac Eldorado became a popular car.
Blaxploitation films inspired a generation of people, and gave them views on what it means to look African-American. In John Oliver Killens’ The Cotillion, or, One Good Bull is Half the Herd, appearance plays an important role in how one identifies oneself as black. A heavy emphasis is placed on the appearance of African Americans and how they view each other. Super Fly and Blaxploitation films helped to foster an appearance that people sought to imitate. Though the appearance perpetuated stereotypes many people still followed it, dressing like Super Fly and driving a Cadillac became the cool things to do. Everyone wanted to look Super Fly.
In Killens’ novel, appearance is emphasized through the Cotillion and through Ben Ali and his Black and Beautiful speeches. Super Fly helped to influence the appearance of the contemporary hip hop. Snoop Dogg and other rappers have portrayed themselves as pimps and people that are “Super hood, super high, super dudes”. In their videos they have bikini-clad women dancing, sitting, touching their cars in general, which looks similar to how the woman in the Super Fly poster is positioned.
Super Fly and other Blaxploitation movies have left a major impact on the appearance of the hip-hop community, inspiring the artists to be no-nonsense pimps, drug dealers, and overall just straight Super Fly.
Super Fly. July 1972. Web. 20 March 2013 . http://lawmovies.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/superfly.jpg
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