When Abiodun Oyewole, founding member of The Last Poets, filed a copyright lawsuit against the estate the Notorious BIG (aka Biggie or BIG) it connected the nationalist bard of the 1960s to the politically ambivalent emcee of the 1990s. It also signaled both aesthetic continuity and an ideological impasse between two generations of African-American wordsmiths.
Posts by Zachary Manditch-Prottas
While dismissed by Hollywood as a handy trend, Blaxploitation has earned a shaky status in the history of film and Black cultural history at large. The propensity to elicit loaded for or against debates has led to equally overwrought praise and scorn for these films. A half-century after Blaxploitation’s bombastic introduction, quick rise, and equally quick fall, we would do well to revisit, and reconsider, those films that best exemplify the still prickly term.
Josiah Howard’s unapologetic, often charming, fondness for Blaxploitation is both the book’s best asset and its greatest limitation. The book gives the films their due, yet, at times feels overly compensative in its efforts.
Sticking it to The Man does not consider just any pulp fiction books; these are the stories of folks who have had enough of their designation as low and choose to rise up and challenge “the man” whose standards cast them down.
Be it Hughes and Hurston, Baldwin and Wright, or Tupac and Biggie, burdened friendships are a recurrent and disturbingly alluring theme in the study of Black writers. Yet, if it is the dramatic bite of high-profile betrayal that tends to ignite a hot-selling story, in the case of Zora and Langston it is the dynamics of friendship that provide a happy counterexample.