Blaxploitation or blacksploitation is a film genre which emerged in the United States circa 1970. These exploitation films were made specifically for an urban, black audience. The word itself is a portmanteau of the words “black” and “exploitation”, and was coined in the early 1970s by the Los Angeles NAACP head, and ex-film publicist, Junius Griffin. Blaxploitation films were the first to feature soundtracks of funk and soul music and they featured a primarily black cast. Variety magazine credited Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, released in 1971, with the invention of the blaxploitation genre while others argue that the Hollywood-financed film Shaft, also released in 1971, is closer to being a Blaxploitation piece; and thus is more likely to have begun the trend.
While some held that the Blaxploitation trend was a token of black empowerment, these movies were accused by some of perpetuating common white stereotypes about black people and, as a result, many called for the end of the Blaxploitation genre. The NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Urban League joined together to form the Coalition Against Blaxploitation. Supported by many black film professionals this group received much media exposure and, during the late 1970s, contributed to the demise of the genre.