WARNING: Clip above contains offensive language and imagery and may not be suitable for all viewers.

It’s been exactly 40 years since the release of the landmark film, “The Mack”, starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor. “The Mack” was released in 1973 and was the only major writing credit for writer Robert J. Poole.

Set in Oakland, Ca., the film surrounds the life of John “Goldie” Mickens, a street hustler turned pimp. Goldie sets his sights on becoming the most notorious pimp in the city. Throughout the film, he addresses ways to control the women under his direction through emotional and intellectual connection and stimulation.

“The Mack” was considered one of the first films of the era to deal with socioeconomic issues in the black community, addressing Black Nationalism and drugs. Both of the focuses were presented as alternative lifestyles for Goldie’s character within the film. While it was called a blaxploitation piece, some labeled it as a melodrama with social commentary.

The film’s language and the term “mack” created long-lasting language that is still used in the music and film industries. The term “mack” was originally taken from old French street language term “the mec”, which means “dude” or “pimp.” The film’s soundtrack by Willie Hutch reached number 17 on the R&B album chart in 1973.

While already a classically trained working actor, Max Julien, who had been seen in films with Jack Nicholson and Candace Bergen, was the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Best Writer of the Year (Thomasine and Bushrod) in 1974. He took a sabbatical from acting and became a sculptor. Several of his pieces were housed in the Pacific Design Center of Los Angeles.

The resource website IMDB.com reported that Julien is currently designing a line of hand-painted clothing & accessories, which is already in circulation on the hip-hop scene, and working toward his own cologne, a video game, autobiography and Broadway show about his life and experiences, including his friendship with the activist Huey P. Newton during the production of “The Mack”.

In 2002, Director Laura Nix released the documentary “Mackin Ain’t Easy”, which went behind the scenes of “The Mack”, introducing background details of the legendary film’s development.

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3 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: The Mack

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