Blaxploitation Movies: Background information when reading Telegraph Avenue

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Telegraph Avenue

by Michael Chabon

Telegraph Avenue
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2012, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 496 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
Blaxploitation Movies

In Telegraph Avenue, Luther Stallings, Archy's dad, was once a star in blaxploitation films that were all the rage in the '70s. Even though the term appears to be a loaded word, blaxploitation movies were actually powerful vehicles of self-identification for many blacks. Understandably this view was not held by all. Many black organizations including the NAACP believed most blaxploitation movies reinforced common white stereotypes about black people.

Blaxploitation Films During the heyday of blaxploitation movies in the early '70s, the civil rights movement was still a nascent thing and black stars - especially leading heroes - were not commonly found on the mainstream Hollywood big screen. Sure there was Sidney Poitier who starred most famously in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, but he was the exception that proved the rule: blacks were not going to become big-budget stars in Hollywood any time soon. Blaxploitation movies were similar to exploitation movies: low-budget films with B-grade actors and a ...

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