Melvin Van Peebles
Don’t write a check your ass can’t cash! Worldly wisdom from the godfather of blaxploitation and a true jack of all trades.
You can call him the godfather of blaxploitation or you can call him Melvin Van Peebles. With his starring role in 1971’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Van Peebles ushered in a new era of self-affirming African-American cinema. The foundation set by his reckless, fearless and way-too-cool-for-school character in the movie served as the blueprint for many a flick to follow. Besides his achievements as an actor and filmmaker, Van Peebles also worked as playwright, novelist and recording artist. The fusion of soul jazz and spoken word he served up on records like Brer Soul and Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death anticipated rap music a good decade before its “official” inception. In 2005, Van Peebles was rumored to be working on a joint album with Madlib, but the project never came to fruition. After a 17-year absence from the record market, Van Peebles released his vinyl-only Nahh… Nahh Mofo LP in 2012 and is still regularly performing with his Laxative band.