Can you dig it?

"He's black. He's brutal. He's Boss."
Trailer, Boss Nigger

The term Blaxploitation refers to a film genre, quite popular in the 1970s and early 1980s, in which the hero or heroes are black, and they have to fight some sort of battle, engage some enemy or otherwise solve some problem in ways involving violence, intimidation, or extreme action skills.

The pivotal point of this genre is that the main character's most significant attribute is the color of his (or her) skin, as well as stereotypical attributes associated with it at the time, such as intimidating appearance, being "naturally predisposed" towards independence, lack of respect for authority, utter disregard of manners and formalism, preference for violent solutions over diplomacy and unquestionable badassery.

Typically the main character was a good guy such as the title character in Shaft, but in some cases he was an Anti-Hero, such as Priest, the drug dealer in SuperFly who wants to do one more deal and retire.

Some of the tropes exposed include:

The Trope Maker/Ur-Example of this genre is Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Note that unless indicated, if a movie is mentioned below, it's referring to the original 1970s/1980s version, and not to any subsequent remake under the same name. The Blaxploitation genre hasn't been as common since the 1980s, mainly due to concerns from African American civil rights groups, pushing it toward Deader Than Disco status.

See also Blaxploitation Parody.


  • Boss Nigger: A violent western starring Fred Williamson and an incredibly catchy theme song. He made two others, but this takes the cake.
    Seanbaby If Fred Williamson made John Carter, it would have been called Spaceman Brown: Chocolate Motherfucker, and it would have turned a $250 million profit."
  • Car Wash: A day in the life of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits working at a Los Angeles car wash - most of whom are black.
  • Cleopatra Jones: A black, female DEA agent fights drug dealers.
  • Coffy: A nurse (Pam Grier) goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the drug dealers responsible for her sister's addiction. Notable for featuring both a female protagonist and an anti-drug message, both of which were unfashionable at the time.
  • Disco Godfather: The unholy alliance of two hallmarks of the 70's; Blaxploitation and Disco. Rudy Ray Moore stars as a retired cop who runs a disco nightclub. He starts fighting against the local drug trade after his nephew gets "whacked out" on PCP and nearly dies inside of his club. Notable only for being the first film Keith David ever appeared in, which he probably regrets, in which he appears uncredited as a patron of the club.
  • Dolemite: A spoof of the genre about a pimp and his karate hookers.
  • Ebony Ivory And Jade: Kidnapped athletes go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against their captors.
  • Foxy Brown: A black woman (played by Pam Grier) seeks revenge for her boyfriend who was shot down by The Man. Spiritual Successor to, and originally intended as a sequel to, Coffy.
  • Greased Lightning slightly different tale, starring Richard Pryor, Cleavon Little, and Pam Grier, about an African American moonshiner and early NASCAR driver.
  • The Guy From Harlem: In Miami, a vest-wearing detective uses the power of being from Harlem to save an African princess from assassination, then rescue the kidnapped daughter of a mobster.
  • Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery, a segment of the book/film Cloud Atlas, is modeled after this genre. A spunky soul sista reporter and rebellious employees of an energy concern team up to prevent the higher-ups from covering up information that their latest power plant project is unsafe in the name of saving a buck.