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During the Black Civil Rights Movement in the 1970s, a genre of film – commonly referred to as Blaxploitation – emerged from Hollywood’s shadow and took America by storm. These mostly independent feature films starred black-majority casts and were guided by the vision of black directors and screenwriters yet soon began to get recognized by audiences of every color and race.

Now a Corpus Christi organization is showcasing a handful of these films and using them as a first-of-its-kind fundraising event.

*UPDATE*

Due to the increase in COVID cases in the Coastal Bend, The Corpus Christi chapter of the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education (TABPHE-CC) has decreased the number of patrons allowed for “Shaft,” the January 17th movie screening at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Both social distancing and masking are encouraged.

All prior ticket sales will be honored, and limited $25 presale tickets (includes appetizer, drink and popcorn) are still available on EventBrite, by emailing tabphecc@yahoo.com, or by calling 361-695-6661 or 361-739-1367. No tickets will be available at the cinema the day of the event. 

Free tickets are now available for students from Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, while supplies last. For more information, DMC students should call 361-698-1279 and TAMU-CC students should call 229-942-7143.

“We’ve made sure that a lot of the cultural holidays are celebrated at both Del Mar College and Texas A&M Corpus Christi,” TABPHE-CC President Simoné Sanders said. “As far as the film festival, the premise of it was actually just an idea that I had because I love that genre and I wanted to see something like this happen.”

She said it was when Alamo Drafthouse Regional Sales Manager Jessica Cortese approached her about doing a fundraiser there, everyone got excited. Then the Drafthouse asked if they wanted to do a whole month of screenings during February and Sanders jumped on it.

Blaxploitation films often skirt around the Hollywood norm, especially when it comes to sex and violence. The genre recently came back into the mainstream spotlight with Eddie Murphey’s 2019 biopic “Dolemite is my Name” which was about legendary filmaker and comedian Rudy Ray Moore, star of “Dolemite” amongst other cult classic films.

“I think it was my grandmother that introduced me to these movies because I would go to her house and these were the movies she was watching,” Sanders said. “My mom, even to this day, was like, ‘I’ve never seen Dolemite, how did you see “Dolemite?’” she laughed. “Do you want me to rattle off which ones I’ve seen because I’ve seen a good deal of them.”

The larger film festival scheduled for February is postponed to June in conjunction with TABPHE-CC’s 10 Days of Juneteenth Jubilee. More information is forthcoming.

Tickets for all five events are limited and should be reserved on EventBrite, by emailing tabphecc@yahoo.com, or by calling 361-695-6661 or 361-739-1367. All tickets are presale only. For more information visit www.tabphecc.org or www.facebook.com/TABPHECorpusChristi.

Tickets for the January kick-off screening of “Shaft” are $25 and include an appetizer, drink and popcorn for each guest. Tickets for the February movies are $15 each (or $55 for the entire month) and include a drink and popcorn for each guest.

Each screening will have a reception beginning an hour before the screening. Corpus Christi filmmaker and founder of Produce Goods Carlos Israel Villarreal will speak about the history of the Blaxploitation genre and take audience questions during the Jan. 17 kick-off event.

All profits from ticket sales will be utilized to support the mission, goals and programs of TABPHE-CC.

TABPHE-CC Vice President for Public Relations Amy Aldridge Sanford said, “The organization really fills a gap in the community. It’s been around since the 90s and the organization really focuses on access to education and equity, for K-16, so, any money we raise at these sort of events goes to promote that mission in the community.”

Sanders added, “This year our organization plans to revisit, reflect and reclaim our time. 

“This movie selection celebrates an era and also recognizes some of the parallels between what was captured on screen over 40 years ago and what exists in current day society.”

•pgonzales@mysoutex.com•

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