May 3, 2008

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

I would call Mevlin Van Peebles Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song the Citizen Kane of blaxploitation films if I actually thought that it was an exploitation film. The truth is SSBS is a serious and culturally important film. The black panthers even promoted the film fiercely as a revolutionary picture. SSBS was the first film in which black Americans became rowdy and stuck it to “the white man.” The only people exploited in SSBS are the white cops that are looking to do Sweetback in. Of course, SSBS features a variety of sex, nudity, and violence. But these things aren’t in the film for exploitation. Melvin Van Peebles just wanted to make a film to stick it to the white man.

Following the unexpected monetary success of SSBS, Hollywood decided it was their turn to cash on the blacks that they so consciously denied (or parodied) in the past. Some were also used as propaganda pieces to agitate blue collar whites around the United States. Larry Cohen’s Bone is an especially hateful Sigmund Freud style attack on Bourgeoisie honkies. SSBS is a serious film as it takes a realistic look at racial issues that affect(ed) the black community and presents them in an unsentimental (yet undeniably entertaining) manner.

I recall having a discussion course with a group of “open minded” white liberals a few years ago about SSBS and they were unanimously appalled by the film (keep in mind these people are pussies). It was obvious that they felt the film was an assault on their aspirations of universally collective racial pacifism. White liberals have a fear that black people will gain power and strength on their own. They prefer blacks being socialized to the point of being physical and mental slaves of the state. Sweetback won’t have any of that weak ass cracker shit.

The opening of SSBS has a scene that borders on child pornography. Melvin Van Peebles had his pre-teen son Mario simulate nude sexual acts with an older woman. This middle aged virginity thief gave him the name “sweetback.” Sweetback’s sexual potency made his career choice easy. He became a jive ass cop killing hustler. SSBS also features a variety of other awkward and bizarre scenes. I especially liked the scene where Sweetback’s goofy friend takes a shit walk talking to him.

The structure of SSBS is very odd. The editing is spliced together in an almost soviet propaganda montage style. Many of the catchy and unforgettable theme songs appear out of nowhere. SSBS even features acid colored shots to appeal to acid dropping hippies of that time period (one of which being Van Peebles best friend Bill who was involved in the film). It is a shame that SSBS hasn’t been studied as much as revolutionary films of it’s kind. I can only assume that white liberals are so offended by it that they wouldn’t even consider writing a scholarly book on the film. SSBS deserves a contemporary movie theater revival campaign. Films featuring probably “the worst role model in world history” 50 cent, just disgust me (not that I have actually seen any of them).

-Ty E

1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

The British equivalent of "jive ass" is "piss artist". By the way, if the opening scene had been an older geezer fucking a little girl that would`ve supposedly been unacceptable, those double standards really get on my fucking nerves.