Django Unchained and the Neo-Blaxploitation Western


  • Johannes Fehrle University of Mannheim



Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino, blaxploitation


Django Unchained’s treatment of slavery and race issues has polarized audiences, especially African-American audiences. While Harvard professor and public intellectual Henry Louis Gates Jr. published a favorable three-part interview with director and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino on his weblog The Root, filmmaker Spike Lee has charged Tarantino with (once again) overusing the “n-word” and with turning African American history into a Spaghetti Western spectacle of violence – an act he called “an insult to his ancestors” (quoted in Stern). Talk show host Tavis Smiley has likewise condemned the film as a misrepresentation of African American history, lamenting that Hollywood would only “greenlight a spoof about slavery, and it’s as if this spoof about slavery somehow makes slavery a bit easier to swallow” (Ibid.).


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