Monday, October 5, 2015

The World Of Shaft

“I hear this Shaft is a bad mother…” 

“Hush your mother!”

“But, I’m talking about Shaft”

“Then we can dig it.”
So go a few of the lyrics of a movie that will change America forever.

Isaac Hayes composed the theme for ‘Shaft’ that went on to attain blockbuster status.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Blacks in the United States began to question the status quo.  No longer content with living as second-class citizens the Black community embraced equal rights and began propagating ‘Black Pride’.

While this unsettled some citizens of the United States in certain geographical areas most U.S. citizens accepted the change and embraced it.

Not too many years before Blacks were referred to as ‘Colored’ and other unsavory names.  With the escalation of ‘Black Pride’ the Black community insisted they be referred to as ‘Blacks' or 'African Americans'.

While there are some remnants of prejudice still present today, equality of the races and genders have come a long way.  It’s not perfect, but it is improving.

Hollywood and TV had its Black movies stars and actors but a ‘Black’ film had never been huge at the box office until….Shaft that starred Richard Roundtree.

Roundtree played private detective John Shaft who stood up for not only poor and destitute Blacks but minorities and Whites as well.

For the first time a black hero crossed racial lines and became an icon of honor.

While the story took place in the inner city, its themes were universal.

Shaft would go on to star in several movies, a TV series and movie revival starring Samuel Jackson.

Copycat movies (ironically composer Isaaac Hayes would be the star of one series) and TV series followed (some good and some bad) and Shaft became a pop culture phenomenon.
Author Steve Aldous and McFarland & Company, Inc. present ‘A Complete Guide To The Novels, Comic Strip, Films and Television Series’ in The World Of Shaft.

Shaft’s creator, Ernest Tidyman provides the inspiration and extensive personal notes for the basis of this exhaustive study of the first true ‘Blackploitation’ print and film star: Shaft.
Learn about Shaft’s early life, his influences, motivation and what makes the man.  It’s all here and it makes for a fascinating read.