MoMA Presents

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

Aug 4–6, 2021


Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. 1971. USA. Directed by Melvin Van Peebles. Courtesy Everett Collection
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1, Theater 1 The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1

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“It would be difficult to underestimate Melvin Van Peebles’s achievement in producing, directing, writing, scoring, and starring in this film, not to mention financing it with the salary he had earned while directing Watermelon Man (1970). Not since Oscar Micheaux had an African American filmmaker taken such complete control of the creative process, turning out a work so deeply connected to his own personal and cultural reality that he was not surprised when the white critical establishment professed bewilderment upon its release in 1971. Filled with enough sex, rage, and violence to earn it an X rating, the success of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song depends less on its story of a superstud running from the police than it does on its disinterest in referencing white culture and its radically new understanding of how style and substance inform each other” (Steven Higgins, Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art).

  • This film series is part of MoMA Presents.

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