He "Is" a "Bad Mother*$%@!#": "Shaft" and Contemporary Black Masculinity

Henry, Matthew
March 2004
African American Review;Spring2004, Vol. 38 Issue 1, p119
Academic Journal
This article analyzes Gordon Parks' film "Shaft" in 1971 and John Singleton's 2000 version of the film, in an attempt to explore the logics of race and gender and the attendant shifts in the way that African American masculinity is represented in mainstream cinema. The films reveal interesting continuities and discontinuities in American culture regarding both race and gender, and how these have helped delineate the contours of black masculinity. It considers Singleton's film within the context of blaxploitation film, as well as against the background of his previous films, in order to examine the ideological implications of contemporary constructions of black masculinity. The changes seen between the two films are attributed, in part, to the cultural shifts that have taken place in the U.S. in the intervening years as a result of various social movements.


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