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Black Starlet is a 1974 film.
A young woman decides she no longer wants to work as a street walker in Chicago, now she wants to follow her dreams as an actress in Hollywood. The main cast members are Clara/Carla Brown – Juanita Brown, Brisco – Eric Mason, Ben – Rockne Tarkington, Skully – Damu King, Joyce – Diane Holden, Phil – Noah Keen, and Sam – Al Lewis. The writers are Daniel Cady and Howard Ostroff. The movie was filmed in Hollywood.
Clara is a beautiful young woman who aspired to be an actress. Clara saved up some money from working in a club and her boyfriend being a pimp, so they can both move to Hollywood. Her boyfriend thought that being an actress in Hollywood was a waste of time. The next morning Clara packed her bags and left for Hollywood. As she was standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus, plenty men were stopping to pay her for her job but she ignored them. One particular man stopped while she was being watched by a police officer and she took off with him. The two had coffee together and Clara went to use the bathroom before they were supposed to leave together. When Clara came back the money in her purse was gone and her luggage was left in the parking spot where the car was parked. Clara did not let that stop her, she soon found a way to Hollywood. While looking for work Clara met a good friend named Joyce. Joyce taught Clara all the ins and outs about Hollywood, even introducing her to her manager. Although during Clara's time as an actress she was raped, Clara did not let that stop her. She soon became a well-known actress/writer.
One of the reasons this movie wasn't your typical 1970s person top pick is that it was a low-budget movie, according to the "Every 70s Movie" article. Since the movie was set at a low budget this meant that the actors and actresses wouldn't be too great. As stated in the "Every 70s Movie" article, "Yet Black Starlet meets and nearly exceeds the very low expectations set by its subject matter and title." Everyone in that time period just knew it was going to be a terrible movie because no one wanted to give up more funds for it forcing the producers to find casts willing to work for a very low wage. According to "Every 70's Movie", "What makes Black Starlet more or less palatable are the moments wedged between exploitation-flick extremes."
In the 1970s, it was a time when everyone was fighting for equality, African Americans, women, gays, and lesbians. The book Bucks and a Black Movie Boom stated that during the 1970s "Very few films attempted to explore a black woman's tensions or aspirations or to examine the dynamics of sexual politics within the black community." Women were and still are experiencing sexual abuse. To further the fight for equality even if the industry felt no one would be interested in hearing about a black woman's struggle. Women were constantly put down about their acting talent but that was all put to rest when the movie Sparkle was introduced. It too was a low budget film that everyone thought would not take off anywhere, but soon became an appealing movie.
The fight for women's rights: the 1970s was a time when women were campaigning women's rights. In 1972, Congress approved the Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” This was a time where women opened abortion clinics and rape centers. According to the book Bucks and a Black Movie Boom, "It was the 1970's, that slick trendy, and contradictory era that led opened with politics and social issues very much on the minds of most Americans." The 1970s was an era for Black women to show that they were more than just a stereotype, the could act as well. In the book it discusses, "What with the Black Nationalist movement, the youth movement, and the rising tide of feminism, the 1970's looked as if it, like the 1960's, would be propelled along by political activism. The movies gave Blacks a way to express their feelings without backlash. With this being said the 1970's era was different, different how? Bucks and a Black Movie Boom states that "Then, too, while the 1970's opened with films with some political heat, the age closed with movies that were increasingly more escapist." In this era, Blacks were looking for a movie that shed light to America's racial conflicts and issues such as actors who showed power, who showed they weren't afraid of standing up for what was right. The 1970s is explained to be, "No other period in black movie history, however, has been quite so energetic or important as the frenetic 1970's," as described in the book Bucks and a Black Movie Boom. This era, like no other time era was a moment for anyone, blacks included to rise above the weak stereotypes.
Discussion of context
As far as information about the main characters, there is not much information about Juanita Brown and Rockne Tarkington died in 2015. It is said that Tarkington has appeared in many movies. As for Brown, she has appeared in a few movies as stated in the article "Every 70's Movie". Yet nothing else has appeared about the actress. This film is listed as a blaxploitation film on Wikipedia.
- "The 1970s - Facts & Summary". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2017-12-08.