( Click any picture below to see full-size or easily scroll through )
Beginning with Coffy through Foxy Brown all the way up to her roles in Jackie Brown and as Kit in The L Word the inimitable Pam Grier has always been a spirit guide for me. Finding fame in Blaxploitation films usually spells a one-way route to “Guess where they are now?” – but not Pam. She is and always was a force to be reckoned with, which transferred to screen very readily. While I also have an equally abiding love for Tamara Dobson (a.k.a. Cleopatra Jones) both women managed to rise above what should have been defining roles by being as bad-ass as their male counterparts while bringing their feminine wiles to use as well. Not just on screen but in everyday life as well.
Thankfully, and I almost regret saying this, Quentin Tarantino created Jackie Brown to give Pam an introduction to a world of people too young to have grown up with her early work. Those others, unlike me who look for her as the ‘partygoer’ extra in one of my all-time camp cult classics ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ because seeing her before her career took off gives me special joy. Not everyone can have that kind of connection with her.
While one can and should critique the sexism/patriarchy/exploitation that the early films but think that Pam Grier addresses that best in an article accompanying a retrospective of the films. She deserves to be an international icon & legend for stating:
“Foxy is not being perfect, it’s just being human.”
We welcome your thoughts on this legend in the comments below