The C.O.W.S. Ernest Tidyman’s SHAFT Part 1

Thursday, October 7th 8:00PM Eastern/ 5:00PM Pacific

The Context of White Supremacy hosts the debut study session on Ernest Tidyman’s 1970 novel, SHAFT. Tidyman is a White man. He forged a distinguished journalism career working for The New York Times and Ohio’s The Plain Dealer. In the midst of the so called Civil Rights Movement and the unrest of the 1960’s, Tidyman decided to concoct a narrative around a black private detective named John SHAFT. This relatively short book sparked a half century of trashy films and mightily influenced the thoughts, speech, action, emotions, and wardrobe of generations of black people. Most of these victims are clueless that there favorite black action hero is the creation of a White man. Gus is excited to closely scrutinize a work that depicts SHAFT as a “bi-sexual” Vietnam veteran out to stick it to “The Man.” The film adaptation of Tidyman’s work is also a spectacular illustration of Racial Showcasing. The director was Gordan Parks, Richard Roundtree starred in the film, and Isaac Hayes’ legendary soundtrack remains beloved and recognized a half century later. Hayes owns an Academy Award for his contributions to SHAFT. This franchise of films, along with the late Melvin Van Peebles, is credited with introducing the era of “Blaxploitation” films – cheaply made movies, bloated with crime and gratuitous sexual content, featuring mostly black characters. The fictional John SHAFT remains a beloved by numerous black people well into the 21st century.


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