Melvin Van Peebles, who died Sept. 21, was best known for his 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. He spoke with Fresh Air in 1990. His son Mario, also an actor/director, was interviewed in 2004.
Memphis soul label Stax records celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. One of its biggest stars was Isaac Hayes, who topped the charts in the '70s, going gold with the album Hot Buttered Soul and platinum with his 1972 soundtrack to the movie Shaft. The latter won him an Oscar.
Composer and musician Isaac Hayes. The new movie “Shaft” features the theme music that he wrote for the original 1972 “Shaft” film and which won him an Oscar. HAYES is also an actor, who has held roles in the movies "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "Posse," and "It Could Happen to You." He's also a regular voice (as the Chef) on the cable animation show "South Park." (REBROADCAST from 7/28/94)
Keenan Ivory Wayans. He co-wrote and acted in "Hollywood Shuffle," Robert Townsend's film about a black actor trying to make it in a world of show business stereotypes. He wrote, directed and starred in, "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," a comedy that parodies black exploitation, kung fu and wild action movies. (REBROADCAST FROM 8/9/89)
Composer and musician Isaac Hayes. He's being recognized for his work as a songwriter by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Hayes rose to the top of the charts in the 1970's on the Stax label, a soul record label. He released his first solo album, "Presenting Isaac Hayes," in 1968. His next album, "Hot Buttered Soul," became a gold record in the 1970's.
Actress Pam Grier. She's starring in the new film Quentin Tarantino film, "Jackie Brown." She got her start playing tough, scantily-clad women in black exploitation films, such as "Black Mama, White Mama," "Foxy Brown," and "Sheba Baby." She played a hooker in "Fort Apache: The Bronx," and (REBROADCAST from 5/10/90)
Hill's best known for his blaxploitation films, "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown" which he both wrote and directed. He was a classmate of Francis Ford Coppola and during the 60s he and Coppola worked for the master of the exploitation films, Roger Corman. Hill worked on the last of Boris Karloff's films. His 1975 film "Switchblade Sister" is now being re-released under the aegis of Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder Films.