Do We Really Need a Super Fly Remake? Do We Need Any of These Blaxploitation Remakes?

Ron O’Neal in Super Fly (YouTube screenshot)
Ron O’Neal in Super Fly (YouTube screenshot)

Last fall, Variety reported that Sony was working on a remake of the 1972 blaxploitation flick Super Fly.

My immediate response was, “What the fuck for?” And despite all my cries to Black Jesus that we have suffered enough already in Trump’s America, not only is the Super Fly remake still on, but it has stars and a director attached. That means this is really going to happen for reasons that remain unclear to me.


Deadline reports:

Sony’s Superfly film is assembling a team aptly fit for its title. As Deadline previously reported, Director X is officially attached to direct the remake with Trevor Jackson confirmed to star as Youngblood Priest. In addition, Mudbound and Straight Outta Compton star Jason Mitchell has signed on to co-star as Eddie, along with Lex Scott Davis as Georgia, Andrea Londo as Cynthia, Jacob Ming-Trent (Showtime’s White Famous) as Fat Freddy, and Omar Chapparo as Adalberto.

Now, I appreciate Director X, who I forgot no longer goes by Little X, and all that he’s done for me and the culture at large. Who could hold a grudge against the man who helped introduce the world to Melyssa Ford? The same goes for him directing videos like the “Thong Song (Remix),” “Shake Ya Ass,” “Danger (Been So Long)” and “Sittin’ Home.” I’m so grateful for that Canadian creative.

Likewise, Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell are talented and seem nice. I don’t know who the rest of those folks are, but you know, shout out to them, too. Yet, while I don’t want to keep money out of people’s pockets, why is this happening?


It gets worse. Deadline continues:

Hip-hop superstar Future has come on board to produce with Joel Silver, while Steven R. Shore, son of the original film’s producer Sig Shore, will serve as an exec producer alongside Matthew Hirsch, Hal Sadoff and Aaron Auch.


Future seems like a horrible man to date and procreate with, but I am a member of FutureHive. As you’ve heard once, twice or a dozen times, I am very saddened about not being the gay Future and still may pursue a mixtape to make that dream a reality. In any event, just because Future raps about the same pain medication Curtis Mayfield used to probably take doesn’t mean he should fill his old role. The Super Fly contract is incredible, and though I know Future is a talented producer and we should never let Ciara forget that he reignited her career with “Body Party,” this feels wrong.

Then there is the matter of who is penning it: Alex Tse. I imagine Tse, whose credits include Watchmen, is talented, but why is a nonblack person penning a blaxploitation pic in 2018? With Future scoring the soundtrack. Future doesn’t even really rap about the kind of drugs Youngblood Priest sold in the movie. He’s more like Karen Walker rap. Like, what is happening? Never mind. All of this seems wrong.


Yet it’s part of a pattern. Indeed, the folks out in Hollywood are doing a reboot of the remake of Shaft, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and the former star of Survivor’s Remorse, Jesse T. Usher. No shade to the iconic Samuel L. Jackson, but that remake wasn’t hitting on nothing. Moreover, ABC announced that it’s working on a Get Christie Love reboot.

While Super Fly was pioneering in its day, do we really need a remake of it now? Do we really need remakes of the other films of that era? I mean, wasn’t that Martin episode “All the Players Came” in season 3—which aired in 1995 and featured folks like Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Rudy Ray Moore, Dick Anthony Williams and Ja’net DuBois, where Jerome won “Pimp of the Year”—enough?


These films were pioneering for their day, but shouldn’t we be looking forward, not back?

When I think about black TV and film now (mostly television), there are so many examples of new and innovative storytelling. In a world in which Insecure, Queen Sugar, Get Out and Black Panther exist, why go back and dig into the 1970s crates for ideas? Hell, I’ll even give you Boo! A Madea Halloween—kidding, ’cause that’s just Madea as Ernest P. Worrell. Then again, that’s still a more modern template.


Hollywood, don’t blacklist my black ass, but there are too many brilliant ideas to be found in your inbox, on various platforms hosting short films and teaser trailers, and across so many social media feeds. Can everyone stop being so lazy and go give some of those ideas a chance, rather than the ones we’ve seen over and over again already?

Michael Arceneaux is the author of "I Can't Date Jesus," which will be released July 24, 2018 by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, but go ahead and pre-order it now.

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No, we do not. I want to see Black people in other worlds, in the future, or in a present that doesn’t have us playing a stereotype. White people get to be centered in all generes. Where’s our “Game of Thrones” or “Westworld”? Can we get a fantasy TV show? I’m not interested in revisiting a past where White men exploited the coolness of Black people for Hollywood dollars (Joel Silver is involved).

I’m going to just pretend I never read this and stay in my “Black Panther” countdown safe space.