The revolution will not be televised, Gil Scott-Heron sang around 1970 - and how that was really meant, namely as a prophecy, revealed itself a year later: Then the revolution came to the cinema. “Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song” (the German title doesn't matter) was the name of the film that didn't conjure up, demand or retell the revolution. And who answered the question of whether one should make political films or direct films politically, once and for all by showing that one cannot be had without the other. Black cinema had until then been white men and women in dark aesthetic contexts. Now there was black cinema: when African-American people take control of this art, find their own roles, move at their own rhythm.And when the whole thing is kicked off by a soundtrack that white boys and girls can hear but certainly can't play. “Blaxploitation” was the name of the genre because the Afro-American filmmakers refused to take a social worker look at themselves, at their misery, their oppression. They preferred to get out what action, effects, noise and bright images there was to get. Melvin Van Peebles was the name of the man who not only made it up, but also wrote, directed, edited and was involved in the composition of the film, and he also played the main role, a man without any social, sexual or moral reservations same yourself. He, the founder of black cinema, did not have an image to lose anyway. No wonder the white audience was scared:The New York Times accused him of showmanship and exploitation. And Van Peebles, when he read this, must have thought: Exactly. This is "the first really revolutionary black film," wrote Huey Newton, the founder of the Black Panther Party. And that he was right was because this film, like basically all revolutionary pop since the young Bert Brecht, was the fulfillment of his own demands for the time it lasted. The self-empowerment happened at the moment of the screening, and it was not just the business of those who staged a completely new image of the African American on the screen. Even for those who grooved themselves into this film, a lot was different afterwards. Fifty years ago the film came into the cinema; without him there would be no Spike Lee, no Mario Van Peebles (who is Melvin's son), no Steve McQueen.And if the news now comes that Van Peebles died at the age of 89, that would be reason enough to bring the 1971 revolution on television. Better still: in the cinema.

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