Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Black Panther is Part of a Blaxploitation Renaissance

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes Blaxploitation movies are undergoing a bit of a renaissance, thanks to President Donald Trump's administration, and the public should expect more works of art such as Black Panther to be made.

In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Abdul-Jabbar said movies which speak to inclusivity, diversity, social justice and equality are going to become more prominent in the next few years, likening Ryan Coogler's story about King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) to Shaft.

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"Black Panther (Shaft by any other name) and Widows are the gourmet mashups of the blaxploitation and femmesploitation genres, attempting to elevate both to a literary realm without sacrificing the street-cred ingredients that made Shaft et al. viscerally exciting, culturally uplifting and politically relevant," he wrote.

With the Black Lives Matter movement in full swing, Abdul-Jabbar also noted the new wave of Blaxploitation movies will undo the sexist and racist tropes of old, and become more clever in their ambitions due to the political correctness of the global landscape presently.

"It’s important to note that some of the classic blaxploitation films are shamelessly sexist, reflecting an embarrassing and cringe-worthy time in our cultural history. That’s why one of the main mission statements of today’s blaxploitation films should be to reverse that attitude," he continued. "Black Panther was successful in doing that because it featured so many women in roles of power who were exceptional at their jobs. Getting rid of straight-hair wigs is the same as throwing off slave shackles that have bound black women to unobtainable ideals of white beauty."

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Abdul-Jabbar added that under the current administration, the feminist movement in particular, has also become more than just a platform for vocal protest, with people believing they're vehicles for true social change and policy making.

In addition to Widows (where Viola Davis and her all-female crew turn into gangsters who steal from corrupt politicians), he highlights other like-minded feminist films such as Peppermint (starring Jennifer Garner in her own unique spin on The Punisher) and Atomic Blonde (where Charlize Theron is an assassin fighting the patriarchy), which he believes are statements by artists and creatives who want their messages of equality to permeate within the industry and to audiences moving forward.

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