Aresenio Hall is only in one scene in Black Dynamite but he’s going out on the press circuit to talk about it. The genre of blaxploitation films is near and dear to the former talk show host’s heart, so he wants to educate the public on what they’re about to see in Black Dynamite.
Black Dynamite and Arsenio Hall
Films like Dolemite and The Mack were inspirations to Hall growing up, even though they were about pimps. Actually, not much has changed. “Right now if you go in the valley in Los Angeles, every empty store become a Halloween store around this time of the year and they sell Halloween stuff,” Hall said. “You can go down the aisles and find a pimp costume for children and there’ll be a little white child with a big red had and a red jacket. Something about the flamboyance of inner city pimps is attractive to everyone. And the worst way to hide something from little white kids is to hide it in the ghetto because they find it and they want it, whether it’s a tennis shoe or a pimp suit. I guarantee you right now if you go to a Halloween store, you’ll find a pimp suit. It won’t be a little black boy on there. It’ll be a little white child with a cane. There’s something about the images.”
Somehow Hall still turned out okay. “I mean, my landlord was a pimp when I was growing up. I’m from Cleveland, so Don King and my landlord, all those guys, those were the first guys, the numbers runners, the pimps. Those are the first Cadillacs I saw, the first Rollses I saw. It’s weird that we even came out all right as men. We should all be O.J., just looking for white woman and killing people. Look at our images. My landlord was a pimp. My first movies that I saw, my dad was a Baptist preacher, he wouldn’t let me see Shaft but I snuck in to see Shaft. It’s crazy when you talk about images.”
Once he had his own talk show, Hall tried to give blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore his due. “Rudy never got what he deserved because he came so early. I got to put him on the talk show and he said, ‘This is my first talk show ever.’ I couldn’t believe it but I started thinking about it. Where could you put Rudy? Johnny Carson wasn’t trying to hear, ‘Dolemite will slide on this bitch!’ Nobody’s hearing that so the first time he’d been on a talk show. I know he’s some place thanking [Black Dynamite] because it’s such an homage to him.”
When it came time to shoot his cameo, Hall got hooked on the Black Dynamite set. “I would watch him sometimes when I wasn’t in it just because we’ve got a lot of friends in this movie and it was just a fun place to be. When he let me keep the coke on my nose, I said, ‘Ain’t nothing over the top I guess. We’re going for it.’”
Black Dynamite opens to theaters October 16th, 2009.