The 1971 Movie SHAFT and the 1970’s

The 1971 movie SHAFT and the 1970’s

I watched Shaft last night, the 1971 original one with Richard Roundtree. I really like the movie, and Roundtree, but what I really liked was the exhibition of black life in NYC in the 1970’s and overall the tenor of the 1970’s.

I came of age in the 1960’s, the counterculture hippie generation of which I was definitely a part, loved all of it. Lived the life in Laguna Beach, which was a central part of the Hippie beach lifestyle. The 1970’s was when the hip culture era people had to find work, get jobs and make a living while still retaining their lifestyle and hipness.

The movie itself is a violent thriller, pitting the black criminal Bumpy against the Italian Mob, who kidnaps Bumpy’s sweet daughter to get him to negotiate over gambling turf. Shaft is the good guy, though a violent man himself to rescue the girl with the help of and old friend who is a Black Radical and some of his gang. They get the girl, wipe out the Italians and so on.

But what I really liked was the characters in the movie and the life at the time. People were individuals, not clones who wont step out, like today. Today is all about money, and for blacks its all about athletes and musicians who’ve made millions selling music to whoever.  Drugs hadn’t really hit the black community and ruined it like the 80’s and 90’s. People were real, in dress, manner and lifestyle.

Lets look at Shaft’s apartment. Two story, book cases, hi fi, nice couches, very upscale; for the era, pretty damn nice! Plus his clothes, wool turtlenecks, wool slacks, hip long leather coats. At the time, it was stylish; Hip and stylish.  It was real, the sets, people, dress and language was real.

Now compare this to modern times. There is this musician named Drake, never heard one of his songs, only know of him since he has court side seats at Raptors games. He just built a huge mansion In Toronto. The design is stunning, it even has a basketball court inside, NBA size. The interior is fabulous, he has great taste. But who buys all his songs, blacks, whites, young, middle aged, poor or successful? I have no clue, and I don’t care, just so he can make tens of millions for just being some type of rapper or whatever he is. Its all about money today, nothing else.

I liked the movie and the era. It was about people who were individuals and unique in their own way.

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