Remaking Super Fly: The Player’s Paradise Alongside The Hustler’s Hell

For a great number of those born in Generation X, the decade of the ’70s carries great weight culturally. The era crystallized the prism through which many were able to create the DNA of their own culture. 

Indeed, Hip-Hop was born in the ’70s, comprised of funk, jazz, soul and disco elements from the very beginning.  What knowing black person cannot hear the voice of their foremothers in the wailing of Chaka Khan, the regality of a diva in Diana Ross, the defiance of Queen Nzinga inherent in the actions of Assata Shakur?  Indeed, the knowing can sense the will of the ancestors, inspiring them to draw another breath, then pushing upon their diaphragm to expel it. 

Only the knowing can tell you why Black folks chose to drive Cadillacs, as opposed to the Lincoln Continental. They also know why customized cars exploded in popularity among street hustlers following the release of the Blaxplotation classic, Super Fly. The knowing are also aware of just how much hustling is imbued into the very blood of African-Americans.  

In toxic environments, where food, clothing and shelter are at a premium yet resources at a minimum, the value of human life is reduced and commoditized.  This has been true of every racial or ethnic group that has come to America.  Hustling seems to be an immediate and natural reaction to economic disenfranchisement, xenophobia and institutionalized racism.

Superfly – Trailer

“Undeniably exciting” is what Leonard Maltin calls this pioneering film that kicked off the entire “blaxploitation” action film genre of the 1970s. When you’re born, raised and trapped in the ghetto, you want to get out any way you can — in this case, it’s a Harlem drug dealer trying to set up a retirement fund before he quits the business for good.

However, unlike other minorities with which African-Americans in urban areas once shared space with, the true legacy of America continues to smother opportunities and dreams of black folks voraciously, seemingly on purpose.  

Though the automaton knows not the reason for its purpose, it still knows its purpose.  When the institutions of one of the greatest countries in the world are turned against you, what would you do?  A capitalist society not so subtly tells us that capital is the end to all means. So, the disenfranchised, like bees to honey, take to hustling – and inevitably are willingly baited into the maw of the beast.

Originally debuting in 1972, Super Fly epitomizes the blaxploitation film era. According to some, it glorified drug dealing, drug use and fostered negative stereotypes regarding black males. Ron ONeal, the films star, would later say he believed Super Fly was anti-drugs. 

However, the head of the Hollywood NAACP at the time Junius Griffin would say, we must insist that our children are not exposed to a steady diet of so-called black movies that glorify black males as pimps, dope pushers, gangsters, and super males.

Super Fly – Freddie’s Dead

Uploaded by voltrontoy on 2013-02-28.

The detractors of contemporary hood movies that they say glorify black-on-black crime and hustle stereotypes, folks like C. Delores Tucker, Jesse Jackson and many others, proved impudent at improving the actual conditions they say such media content helped glorify.  

Even today, some old school Hip-Hop head is cursing at the fact that the producer Future has been tabbed to produce the soundtrack for the remake of Super Fly that will star Jason Mitchell and Trevor Jackson. 

Future and dozens of other Hip-Hop artists have been accused of many of the same things today that Super Fly and Shaft were accused of doing 45 years ago – glorifying black pain and death via the promotion of drug use.

Pusherman 1972 Superfly Movie

Pusherman by Curtis Mayfield from the original movie from 1972. super cool super mean feeling good for the man superfly here i stand 😉 I’m your pusherman

However, if that is actually the case, then no contemporary producer is more qualified to produce this soundtrack than Future. 

Who is to say that the Millennial generation, in all its ostentatious braggartry, isnt capable of channeling their own resources and social norms into creating a pretty good remix of the original Super Fly? 

Steven R. Shore, son of the originals producer Sig Shore, will executive produce along with Future. Director X is slated to call the shots from behind the camera.

Big cars, big hair, big bags of cocaine, and big dreams, the original Super Fly represents a player’s paradise and a hustler’s hell, all in the same movie. While we wish them the best, it cannot go unsaid how difficult a task this will be to undertake on all levels.

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