“In the aftermath of the Black Social Movement of the 1960’s, career and occupational opportunities, once firmly closed to the blacks, flung wide open and in Hollywood the drive to service the emergent black market gave birth to the genre known as Blaxploitation Films. Novice producers, directors, actors and actresses were literally plucked form the streets to produce the films and many if not most never made it past one film. Ji-Tu Cumbuka is the exception, as he carved out a career in acting and filmmaking. In this wonderful, highly accessible, and engaging book. Ji-Tu maps his transformation into a heavily sought after character actor. He looks back and reflects on a career of success. Parts of his story are straightforward and edgy, but sprinkled here and there are hilarious encounters such as his being “forced” to perform while in “close” physical contact, and unending number of re-takes with none other than Sophia Loren.
This us a must read for young people wanting to know the past as well as for older readers seeking to re-visit an important but all to easily overlooked era in the history of blacks in Hollywood.“
William E. Cross , Jr., PhD
Professor of Africana Studies
Author of Shades of Black