chapter  8
27 Pages

Reading the Signs, Empowering the Eye: Daughters of the Oust and the Black Independent Cinema Movement: Toni Cade Bambara

In 1971, Melvin Van Peebles dropped a bomb. Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song was not polite. It raged, it screamed, it provoked. Its reverberations were felt throughout the country. In the Black community it was both hailed and denounced for its sexual rawness, its macho hero, and its depiction of the community as downpressed and in need of rescue. Film buffs vigorously invented language to distinguish the film's avantgarde techniques and thematics from the retrograde ideology espoused. Was Sweetback a case of Stagolee Meets Fanon or Watermelon Man Plays Bigger Thomas?