Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras

A History of Blaxploitation Cinema


A definitive account of Blaxploitation cinema—the freewheeling, often shameless, and wildly influential genre—from a distinctive voice in film history and criticism


ISBN: 9781419758416 Category:

Odie Henderson


In 1971, two films grabbed the movie business, shook it up, and launched a genre that would help define the decade. Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, an independently produced film about a male prostitute who beats up cops and gets away, and Gordon Parks’s Shaft, a studio-financed film with a killer soundtrack, were huge hits, making millions of dollars. Sweetback upended cultural expectations by having its Black rebel win in the end, and Shaft saved MGM from bankruptcy. Not for the last time did Hollywood discover that Black people went to movies too. The Blaxploitation era was born.

Additional information

Weight 502 g
Dimensions 16.1 x 23.5 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 11 April 2024
Number of pages 304
Format Hardback
Dimensions 16.1 x 23.5 cm
Weight 502 g


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Odie “Odienator” Henderson is the chief film critic of the Boston Globe and runs the blogs Big Media Vandalism and Tales of Odienary Madness. A lover of film noir, musicals, Blaxploitation, bad art, and good trash, Henderson was previously a contributing writer at from 2011 to 2022. He has written for Slant Magazine’s The House Next Door blog since 2006. His work has also appeared in The Village Voice, Vulture, Cineaste Magazine, MovieMezzanine, Movies Without Pity, Salon, and The Criterion Collection. He recently finished a long career in IT. He lives in northern New Jersey.