Big Afros, Big Guns, and Big Cars. The holy trinity of seventies Black cinema affectionately dubbed “Blaxploitation”. The term itself is a portmanteau of the words “black” and “exploitation”. It was originally coined in the early 70s by the Los Angeles National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) head, and ex-film publicist Junius Griffin. The films featured soundtracks dripping with the hottest soul and funk music and predominately Black casts. The genre played an important role in bringing issues of race and justice to the Hollywood big screen. Some white viewers viewed the films as some sort of token of Black empowerment. African-American critics decried the movies as promoting common white stereotypes about Blacks. Regardless of whether or not the films are seen in either of these two lights, the impact both culturally and financially on Hollywood is undeniable.
Many now legendary actors and actresses got their start in this genre.