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Imaging the Panthers: Representing Black Power and Masculinity, 1960s–1990s

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2009

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When the movie Panther premiered in American theaters in May 1995, it introduced a whole new generation to the rhetoric and radical politics of the Black Panther Party of a quarter-century earlier. It also sparked fierce debate about Panther fact, Panther fiction, and the power of images. Former leftie David Horowitz, now the head of the neoconservative Center for Popular Culture in Los Angeles, took out an ad in Daily Variety calling Panther a “two-hour lie.” Damning director Mario Van Peebles for glorifying the positive aspects of the black power movement — the children's breakfasts and sickle cell anemia tests the Panthers sponsored, for example — Horowitz warned that people “will die because of this film” and faxed a seven-page press release to the media condemning the Panthers as “cocaine-addicted gangsters who … committed hundreds of felonies.”

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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