This 70’s era snap shot of a pimp and two of his stable brings back a lot of memories for someone who came of age in the 70’s. The celebration of “The Life”,that is for lack of a better term, Pimp Culture had entered the main stream and was visible everywhere. There were books like Iceberg Slim’s Pimp (Holloway House), A.J Jackson’s Gentleman Pimp (Holloway House), Alfred “Bilbo” Gholson’s The Pimp’s Bible (Research Associates), The Life: The Life and Folk Poetry of the Black Hustler by Dennis Wepman, Ronald B. Newman and Murray B. Binderman (Holloway House), Black Players: The Secret World Of Black Pimps by Christina and Richard Milner (Little, Brown) and the works of Donald Goines (Whoreson, Dope Fiend, et al) on every inner city newsstand. A great coffee table book to keep an eye out for (it was re-issued a few years back) is Gentleman Of Leisure: A Year In The Life Of A Pimp by Susan Hall with photos by Bob Adelman (Quadrangle/New York Times), which follows a New York City mack named Silky through his year and finally love and marriage with his top girl.Incredible photos throughout. Writing this post I realized I’ve built up quite a library on the subject.
Movies like Super Fly, Willie Dynamite (which is shown on TCM a lot these days) The Mack, J.D.’s Revenge, and of course Rudy Ray Moore’s Dolemite films were doing, in Variety’s words ‘bofo box office’. Most blaxplotation films had great sound tracks (check out this sampler from Never Get Out Of The Boat blog for a nice selection of sounds). There were tons of Pimp songs recorded– from Curtis Mayfield’s chart topper Super Fly to Don Julian & the Meadowlarks’ Shorty The Pimp, Mr. Wiggles’ Homeboy and of course Andre Williams’ Cadillac Jack (Andre’s debut novel Sweets & other stories (Kicks Books) delves into the life in great depth and is a must read).
Nowadays it’s rare to see a pimp mobile in New York City, and high school kids play a game called Pimps and Ho’s (anyone with teenage kids out there know the rules?). When Britney Spears married K-Fed, the groom and his best man and ushers all wore sweat suits that said “Pimp” on the back. Britney and the bride’s maids all wore matching sweat suits that read Ho’s.
Talk about cultural interlopers, as the Rev. Al Sharpton would say. Britney and K-Fed seemed to be keeping the tradition of the minstrel show alive.
Getting back to the Fang’s found photo, the suit, the hat, the gloves, the jump suit and wig on the girl on his right arm. No wonder why he’s smiling! This photo is worth a million words.