directed by Melvin Van Peebles
Melvin Van Peebles flips THE MAN the bird about four thousand times in his bold and amazing calling out of America’s racist majority. Van Peebles is Sweet Sweetback, baddest of men and true American hero, who saves a Black Panther from some racist cops and goes on the run. Though Van Peebles wrote almost no dialogue for himself, he speaks volumes in a role that can never be duplicated. Ever. Like the music of Chuck Berry and Howlin Wolf, the magnitude of this landmark film must be recognized in context. Without the uppercut force of Sweetback, who knows where film would be today. One of the first truly independent films (Van Peebles basically paid for his entire 1971 film himself), Melvin Van Peebles put a megaphone in front of every minority victimized by a bigoted, ignorant, and racist White America. A film that commands attention, Sweet Sweetbck’s Baadasssss Song is call to arms, a film that, like its title character, will never die a natural death.