The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Save The Children (1973)

  • The Jackson 5
  • Marvin Gaye
  • The O'Jays
  • Zulema
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips
  • Bill Withers
  • Isaac Hayes

This post is why Blaxploitation Pride exists. We know the genre is a lost one. It's revered but was not preserved. Pride is a necessity but in excess quickly becomes a sin. Pride is an element of cultural identity that has been washed away in today's world. One can never receive enough excessive imagery of Black pride if you love what you see and hear on BP. Of course, the history was rich well before the 70's, truth be told.

I learned plenty from filmmaker Jamaa Fanaka regarding the power of moving pictures and Save The Children is the prototypical example of that power. All of the enthusiasts and loyalists of the genre ask "What about Save The Children? Does that exist? Has anyone seen it?" I say that's a 'double entendre', I, too, wonder if it exists and I also ask is there an actual interest to literally "Save The Children"?

From a documentary to an actuality, this post can be metaphor for those priceless lost tapes, uncovered footage, pride, the power of film to the question of whether or not does anybody care to "save" anything be it "blaxploitation", children, or simply making quality film with dignity, meaning and that which is revolutionary in scope.

Save The Children does exist as a tangible treasure for our viewing pleasure but is non-existent in the sense the world may not bear witness to that power ever. It may be a DVD rip of a VHS rip but even still, it's a historical artifact. Stan Lathan, director of this documentary, speaks about in his experience in an interview here What's interesting is there is no talk of where the film is today or if there is a possibility of a DVD release.

Classics like The Mack, When We Were Kings, Wattstax, Soul Power and Black Rodeo were directed by Michael Campus, Leon Gast, Mel Stuart, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Jeff Kanew respectively. These white men all speak on their commentaries and interviews of how either it was hell to get the film made, hell to get it released in the theater, and some years later, hell to retain the film and transfer it to DVD. They saved their children, regardless.

As beautiful and as powerful as these productions are, the necessity to present these experiences to next generations was made possible by men not even from the culture. Save The Children is not talked about as being released anytime soon, if at all.

Stan Lathan formed a media group with one of the richest Black men in the world, Russell Simmons and through HBO the successful Def franchise was born. Save The Children remains stillborn. Def Comedy versus a Def Tragedy. Brother Self-Science, Funkback, the BP familyhood and I see how imperative it is not only to "Save" that which is not left to be saved, but to preserve the antiquity and edify these "children" into adulthood so they can pass on the preciousness to generations beyond.

By the way, wait 'til you see this pretty baby........

Review to Save The Children soundtrack

Note: The credits online list STC as a 123 minute documentary. This is a tad under one hour consisting mainly of the musical performances.