The term “blaxploitation” was coined by Junius Griffin, head of the Los Angeles National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). One of the aims of blaxploitation movies was to create debate and help advance equality in race relations across America. However, the subject matter of many of these films was considered to be upholding negative stereotypical images of African-Americans rather than progressing any sort of social and cultural equality.
While there is obviously some degree of truth in this, blaxploitation produced enjoyable films that often had a radical edge which most mainstream movies lacked. As for the criticisms over narrative, plot and acting, well these were usually the same problems to be found in all exploitation movies. For me, blaxploitation movies were one of the most enjoyable highlights of 1970s cinema, as they brought this poor white kid from Scotland a sense of a world that was sensational, exciting, entertaining and far more real than the sub-genre of bad comic book pap being pumped out of Hollywood during this decade. Moreover, the soundtracks to many of these films were among the best put on celluloid.
Though by no means a definitive collection, this selection of blaxploitation film posters gives a fairly good idea why these films had such massive appeal.
Via Voices of East Anglia, Fleshapoid, Let’s Get Out of Here, The Wrong Side of the Art and Glitternight.