Want more from a modern silver screen siren then a pretty face, attempted Bambi eyes and a generally passive demeanour? Then never fear, Pam Grier is here.
Born on 26th May 1949 in North Carolina, Grier frequently around due to her father’s military career. After settling in Colorado, she took part in beauty pageants to fund her university tuition. In 1967, Grier moved to Los Angeles. It was here while working as a receptionist for American International Pictures (AIP), that she was discovered by filmmaker Jack Hill. Together they would help define a new kind of cinema.
Blaxploitation was a genre of film that began in 1970’s, created by and aimed initially for an urban black audience. The name, a mixture of ‘black’ and ‘exploitation’, does accurately show that Blaxploitation was not mainstream at its conception. One of the most defining aspects of Blaxploitation was its focus on issues of racism, injustice and challenging stereotypes of black people in cinema; with some sex and violence thrown in for good measure. Some have since accused Blaxploitation of portraying black men as pimps and criminals. Regardless of the pros and cons of this particular genre, Pam Grier was a star of this genre, especially since there were few women leads to be dispensed anyway. Credited as being the first female action star. Her most famous roles include ‘Coffy’ and ‘Foxy Brown’. While in both of these roles, there is some nudity from Grier. There is more to her characters then just a beautiful face with a ripe figure; she is tough, sensitive and does not need a man to protect her. Sadly the end of Blaxploitation came and the work dried up for Grier.
1998 brought about a career revival thanks to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Jackie Brown’. As a fan of both Grier and Blaxploitation cinema, Grier won rave reviews for her performance as the sharp and cunning Brown.
While many former sirens cling desperately to their youth. Grier on the other hand has allowed herself to just age as she wishes, still no less beguiling.