It’s incredible to think that we now live in an era where small-budget, limited resource film-making has the potential to shape our world and cultural views. A look back at previous eras, the 1970s in particular, inevitably involves the subcultural genre of “Blaxploitation” films, which speak to the power of lo-fi, low budget movies. At that point in time, Blaxploitation films were sort of seen as caricatures of that early ’70’s aesthetic, but now we perceive the countless examples of their artistic weight through some of the great soundtracks and memorable Black characters of film history.

Shaft, Super Fly and Foxy Brown are just a few that come to mind, but what perhaps sets these films apart from other genres were the marketing methods, mainly in the form of movie posters. Poster House in New York will soon open You Won’t Bleed Me: How Blaxploitation Posters Defined Cool & Delivered Profits, a vital, in-depth reexamination of that form of art and its critical place in 1970’s American cinema. The bold brashness, unadulterated sexuality and unhinged coolness of each poster set the stage for what the museum calls, ”a rare opportunity for Black men and women to be heroic, strong, cool, sexy, and, most importantly, to win on the big screen after decades with either little or demeaning representation.” Not only does this exhibition show the importance of visual arts in the way we process entertainment, establishing iconic characters in concert with music, design, fine art and film, it also sends a powerful, unifying message. —Evan Pricco