Godfather of Black Cinema Melvin Van Peebles Dies at 89
Melvin Van Peebles, the prolific filmmaker who paved the way for Blaxploitation movies and the father of Mario Van Peebles, has died. He was 89. Van Peebles’ 1971 movie Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song ushered in a new era of Black American cinema. Mario Van Peebles said in a statement Wednesday, “Dad knew that Black images matter.” The pair teamed up several times throughout Melvin’s long career, with both father and son in front of and behind the camera. The Criterion Collection issued a statement commemorating Van Peebles on Wednesday: “In an unparalleled career, Van Peebles made an indelible mark on the international cultural landscape. He will be deeply missed.” The New York Film Festival will screen Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song for its 50th anniversary.