Blaxploitation

O.k. guys. I haven’t been a huge Willie Hutch fan. However, I did like some of works he produced during the Blaxploitation era; most famously the work he did on the “Foxy Brown” soundtrack released in 1974, under Motown Records. I was listening to an internet oldies radio show not too long ago (I don’t remember the name of the station), but they shocked me by playing a song I haven’t heard in ages!! It was Willie Hutch’s reinterpretation of “Stormy Weather.” Now, I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but, I usually don’t listen to certain male love songs, that were originally/traditionally sung by women. I know that may sound stupid. But, as a music lover, I don’t think they always translate the same. It’s like when you’re translating a song from one language to another, it just doesn’t always sound the same, or make sense. However, I feel Willie done an outstanding job on this song, and I really recommend that you take a listen. Singer and actor Ethel Waters first sang the song in 1933. In fact many, many people have reinterpreted this song. But the artist that became most famous for her rendition of “Stormy Weather” was the legendary Lena Horne in 1943. Lena also appeared and sung in the movie called “Stormy Weather” in 1943.



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You know, it’s a shame. Even within my own age group, we don’t talk about Blaxploitation movies anymore. Although, I must admit, there were a lot of cheesy ones out there from back in the day, many of them were also funny as hell. They’re almost like watching silly home made movies. But, we had a few of what I considered masterpieces (in a “B” movie sense LOL). Masterpiece (you might be saying to yourself)? Well, granted “B” movies are technically low budget films; and they are no doubt an acquired taste for many of us these days. However, at the same time, a film that was a low budget was part of what made so many of them hilarious. Simply because the directors had to improvise with what they didn’t have. Then again, I think a lot of Black folk would have seen this particular movie regardless, simply because the queen of Blaxploitation was in it. The legendary Pam Grier.

Movies aside, some great soundtracks have been recorded from those Blaxploitation movies. In fact, I dare to say that some soundtracks became more popular than the movies themselves. The music from these movies had a specific unique sound that allows us to automatically pinpoint what it is, and the era it was from. A mixture of funk and blues created a sound that almost seemed to be immediately associated with Black film. One of the tracks I really dug was “Blacula Strikes.” Actually, now that I think about it, it sounds like it was written more for a cop show, rather than a Black vampire movie. LOL. I also like the piece called “Blacula (The Stalkwalk),” I think this score captures the true essence of a “Black Vampire” of the 70s (walking through Harlem). LOL.



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