BLACK MOVIES: IT'S BEEN A MAN'S WORLD, MOSTLY

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SHAFT (1971)

Shaft is a Hollywood private eye who happens to be black, operating in a Hollywood private eye movie which happens to be set among black Americans, who move to Isaac Hayes' funky soundtrack. It's hip, it's cool, it's emblematic and it describes little of the real experience of African-Americans. The original "blaxploitation" pic.

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986)

Spike Lee's debut had fiercely independent, sexually active, socially mobile artist Tracy Camila Johns taking on three men at once and running into trouble. Like Waiting to Exhale, it's a movie about women making choices, but set in a more diverse, therefore harsh, social environment.

BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991)

John Stapleton's classic low-budget street movie delivers a strong anti- drugs message to underpin a central theme proposing that black men are more likely to be killed violently than any other class of human being. Gang violence, drugs, poverty, a paucity of father figures: it's an all- African-American masculine tragedy.

HOOP DREAMS (1995)

`An epic journey of heartbreak and hope,' it says in the marketing blurb. In fact, it's a documentary describing the hopes and hoop dreams of basketball players making their way through the system. It's a male triumph-over- adversity movie. Mums cheer from sidelines. That's about it for the ladies.

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