When I was watching Foxy Brown, I hated the villains. I hated them. They were pantomime baddies gone wild; incredibly sadistic, ruthless, and bigoted. While watching, I could tell the screenwriters had taken special care to make them loathsome; there was Katherine’s Southern accent (telling us that she’s privileged and haughty, as well as evoking an uncomfortable connection with slavery), her line about how “those people don’t value family loyalty,” and so on.
In a sense, Katherine and Steve are fascinating solely because of the pains the film takes to make them as hateful. From a cultural standpoint it’s interesting to investigate what would be needed to create truly horrible villains in a film for a mostly black audience in 1974. On the other hand, since Katherine and Steve were the creations of Jack Hill (a white man), is it possible that they’re a cynical calculation rather than a genuine expression of cultural anger?
In a larger sense- who owns blaxploitation? If a white filmmaker (Hill directed as well as wrote the film) is the one creating film for a black audience, is he pandering or making a brave statement by adding a previously marginalized voice to cinema?