Black film godfather Melvin van Peebles dies at the age of 89

New York (Associated Press)- Melvin Van PeeblesThis pioneering playwright, musician and film director, whose work led the wave of “Blaxploitation” in the 1970s and influenced filmmakers a long time later, but he has passed away. he It’s 89.

his The family said in a statement Van Peebles, The father of the actor director Mario Van Peebles, Died on Tuesday night his Home in Manhattan.

“Dad knows that black images are important. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a movie worth?” Mario Van Peebles Said in a statement on Wednesday. “We want to be the success we have seen, so we need to see ourselves as free. True liberation does not mean imitating the mindset of the colonists. It means appreciating the strength, beauty and interconnectedness of all people.”

Sometimes referred to as “the godfather of modern black film”, versatile Van Peebles Wrote many books and plays, and recorded several albums-playing multiple instruments and providing rap-style lyrics. he Later he became a successful option trader in the stock market.

but he The most famous is “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song!” One of the most influential movies at the time. Low-cost art films, he Written, produced, directed, starred, and scored, it is a story about the madness, strong sexuality and violence of a black street crook who escaped from the police after killing the white policeman who beat the black revolutionaries.

With its assiduous, hard-line description of slum life, and a focus on empowering messages from a black perspective, it set the tone for this genre, which produced dozens of movies in the following years , And sparked a debate about whether blacks were recognized or exploited.

“So far, all movies about black people have told about their rhythm, words, and pace through the eyes of Anglo-Saxons,” Van Peebles In 1971, the year the film was released, he told Newsweek.

“I can call it the “Song of Indomitable Sweet Back”. But I want the core audience, the target audience, to know that this is for them,” he Tell the Associated Press in 2003. “So I said’Ba-ad Asssss’, just like you said.”

The production cost is about 500,000 US dollars (including the 50,000 US dollars provided by Bill Cosby), and despite the X-rated ratings, limited distribution and mixed reviews, the box office still reached 14 million US dollars.

For example, the New York Times accused Van Peebles Unfair merchandise sales and called the movie “outrageous.”

But with its success, Hollywood became aware of an undeveloped audience and began to produce box office hits such as “Shaft” and “Superfly”. These hits also introduced Curtis Mayfield and Marvin. Famous for top musicians such as Gaff and Isaac Hayes. Make the soundtrack.

Many versions of Hollywood are exaggerated crime dramas, full of pimps and drug dealers, which have attracted severe criticism in both white and black media.

“What Hollywood did—they suppressed political messages and added comics—and then Blaxploitation was born,” Van Peebles Said in 2002. “People of color are not satisfied with this.”

In fact, civil rights organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Racial Equality Conference coined the term “blaxploitation” and formed the Coalition Against Blaxploitation. Quentin Tarantino is one of the 21st century fans of this genre. His Oscar-nominated “Liberated Jiang Ge” has been publicly influenced by Blaxploitation movies and Italian westerns.

After his initial success, Van Peebles Bombed by the director’s offer, but he Choose to maintain his Independence.

“I will only cooperate with them on my terms,” he Said. “I whipped that man’s ass his Own turf. I was number one at the box office—this is how the United States measures things—and I do it on my own. Now they want me, but I’m not in a hurry. “

Van Peebles Then participated in Broadway, wrote and produced a number of dramas and musicals, such as Tony nominated “Should not die naturally” and “Don’t make us cheap”. Later he wrote the movie “Lubricated Lights” starring Richard Pryor, playing the first black racer Wendell Scott.

In the 1980s, Van Peebles Turn to Wall Street and options trading. he Wrote a financial self-help guide titled “Bold Money: A New Way to Play the Option Market”.

born Melvin Peebles In Chicago on August 21, 1932, he Later, “Van” will be added to his name. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1953 and joined the Air Force as a navigator for three years.

After completing his military service, he moved to Mexico and worked as a portrait painter, then moved to San Francisco, where he began writing short stories and making short films.

Van Peebles I went to Hollywood soon, but he Only the job of a studio elevator operator is provided. Disappointed, he Moved to the Netherlands to study a postgraduate course in astronomy, while also studying at the Dutch National Theatre.

finally he give up his Study and move to Paris, where he learnt he Can join the French Directors’ Guild if he adapt his My own work written in French. he Soon I learned the language by myself and wrote a few novels.

one he Was made into a feature film. “The Tale of the Permit/Three-Day Pass” is a story between an American black soldier and a French woman. It won the Critics’ Choice Award at the San Francisco Film Festival in 1967 and received the attention of Hollywood Van Peebles.

The following year, he Hired as the director and soundtrack of the “Watermelon Man”, he tells the story of a white diehard (played by the comedy Goffi Cambridge White Face) one day when he woke up and became black.

Using the money earned from the project, Van Peebles Started to create “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song!”

Peebles‘Death comes just a few days before the celebration of the New York Film Festival he “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song” 50th anniversary. Next week, Criterion Collection will release the set “Melvin Van Peebles: Basic movies. “Renaissance his The series “Should not die naturally” is also scheduled to be shown on Broadway next year, and Mario Van Peebles As a creative producer.

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