I was listening to Sirus radio coming home this afternoon and on station 49 Motown sounds the great Curtis Mayfield was on. The seventies were the pinnacle of black movies that gave white boys like me a distorted view of what being black was about. I lived in a NY City Housing Project during the mid 60’s to mid 70’s , a rough and tumble era to be in the city. What was great about living there was the lessons I learned from all street corners. We played sports, listened to music and mostly got along. The multi racial, multi ethnic crowd allowed us to view life in many colors and shapes. The kids who survived and made it were the ones who understood you learned tolerance or else you did not belong. Without the group, you were not going to be around for long. This was a life lesson that has stayed with me.
Black movies gave a view that was extremely skewed as it gave the high-five to stereotypes of mostly negative behavior. We knew the movies were bullshit so that is why the music angle was so important.
No one in the projects believed being the pusher or selling dope was glamorous. All of us had friends or those we knew that did not make it. It cut across all lines of backgrounds and color. Those who made the attempt to live the thug life , made bad life choices.
However, what was positive about this genre of film focused on the music made by great artists It gave us Issac Hayes, Marvin Gaye, Soul Train and many others. Top of the charts was the genius of Curtis Mayfield. His work with the Impressions and his solo career was as good as any band. I suggest going on U Tube to get just a glimpse of his unique talent.
Listen to this version of ” Freddy’s Dead” rent Super Fly and get a taste of super fine music.