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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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Georgia, Georgia (1972)


Georgia, Georgia is a 1972 Swedish-American drama film directed by Stig Björkman. It was entered into the 23rd Berlin International Film Festival. Its screenplay, written by Maya Angelou, is the first screenplay written by a black woman; Angelou also wrote the film's soundtrack, despite having very little additional input in the making of the film. -wiki

Acclaimed actress Diana Sands and Dirk Benedict star in this provocative romantic drama. While performing in Sweden, black singer Georgia (Diana Sands, The Landlord, Honeybaby, Honeybaby, Willie Dynamite) falls in love with white photographer Michael Winters. The romance is scorned upon by Georgia's black traveling companion Alberta (Minnie Gentry, Black Cesar, Greased Lightning), who is most upset by the interracial relationship as Alberta despises all whites with a vengeance, and it is her hatred that formulates the film's explosive climax.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lalo Schifrin - Golden Needles (1974)

This is an official soundtrack release for the Blax-fu film guest starring Jim Kelly, Golden Needles. The music was composed by the legendary Lalo Schifrin (also the composer for Enter the Dragon). This is not your typical Blaxplotiation soundtrack that you would normally hear. No need to expect much of that funky bass "wah-wah" or the hard hitting congas. This soundtrack has more of a jazzy and stage-screen type of sound. Mostly mood music to correlate with scenes of the film, such as "Health Club Fight" track that is of course, uptempo.

01. The golden statue
02. Golden needles (main title)
03. Acupuncture #1
04. Flames - Lin Toa
05. Love theme
06. Fortune teller - Snake shop - Snakes
07. Felicity
08. Mongolian supper
09. Chinese paintings
10. Empty hangers - Attack on Kwan - Chinese cemetery
11. Airports - Street fight
12. Winters' mansion - Winters - It's time
13. Taxi
14. Antique shop - Health club
15. Health club fight
16. Acupuncture #2
17. Menace - Hong Kong street
18. Heavies approach - Harbor sequence
19. Harbor chase - Crowds - Conclusion
20. Golden needles (end titles)
21. Finzie's piano #1
22. Chinese street source
23. Finzie's piano #2
24. Golden needles of love

Sistemo l'America e torno [a.k.a. Black Is Beautiful] (1974)


The film is primarily in Italian with English in various parts of the film. I done my best to translate the storyline of the film. The film offers an interesting perspective on Blaxploitation as this film was not made for American release, but filmed in urban areas across the United States while showing the political fight for African-American rights and justice. 

John Bonfiglio (Paolo Villaggio) was sent to attend to some business in the United States by his employer, a wealthy industrialist from Busto Arsizio. Already located there, John is also in charge of hiring a promising American basketball player of color, Ben Ferguson (Sterling St. Jacques, the son of famed blaxploitation actor Raymond St. Jacques) for the Corporate basketball team, which is in need of a player that makes them invincible. Ferguson is immediately available, but before leaving for Italy, he forces Bonfiglio to accompany him on a tour across the United States to settle some personal matters. During the journey, John discovers that the basketball champion actually has not only the interest of the sport, but also politics...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bush Mama (1979)


Inspired after having seen a Black woman in Chicago evicted in winter, director Haile Gerima (Sankofa) developed Bush Mama as his UCLA thesis film.  Gerima blends narrative fiction, documentary, surrealism and political modernism in his unflinching story about a pregnant welfare recipient in Watts.  Featuring the magnetic Barbara O. Jones (Freedom Road) as Dorothy, Bush Mama is an unrelenting and powerfully moving look at the realities of inner city poverty and systemic disenfranchisement of African Americans.  The film explores the different forces that act on Dorothy in her daily dealings with the welfare office and social workers as she is subjected to the oppressive cacophony of state-sponsored terrorism against the poor.  Motivated by the incarceration of her partner T.C. (Johnny Weathers) and the protection of her daughter and unborn child, Dorothy undergoes an ideological transformation from apathy and passivity to empowered action.  Ultimately uplifting, the film chronicles Dorothy’s awakening political consciousness and her assumption of her own self-worth.  With Bush Mama, Gerima presents an unflinching critique of the surveillance state and unchecked police power.  The film opens with actual footage of the LAPD harassing Gerima and his crew during the shooting.  -UCLA: Film & Television Archive