New Arrival

Casting Call for the Title Role of an Iconic Blaxploitation Film

Film Talent Search for a Black Beauty Aspiring to the Title Role in "Cleopatra Jones"

[Los Angeles]: [1972].

Price: $750.00

About the item

Printed in black on orange stock, 13-7/8 x 22 inches. Casting Call for the Title Role of an Iconic Blaxploitation Film.

Item #367581

The broadside is from the files of Cassius Weathersby, who headed the open auditions held in seven American cities in the late summer and fall of 1972. Weathersby was tasked with liaising with radio stations, local theater groups, agencies, and "every conceivable source in the black community" (as one of the press releases stated), in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and San Francisco in an effort to turn out large numbers of African-American women for the auditions.

The role of Cleopatra Jones would ultimately go to Tamara Dobson, a model with working class roots in Baltimore. At 6'2" she was a striking presence on the screen, and her role and performance remain a watershed for black women in cinema: “Cleopatra Jones stands as the quintessential example of the potential of a new sensibility for shaping the black female presence in popular action cinema … The portrait of heroic black femininity stands as a departure of sorts from the typical black female presence within blaxploitation and Hollywood film in general … When Cleopatra Jones premiered on July 4, 1973, it marked a key moment in black women’s imagery within the popular culture of the era … The Black Power movement, second-wave feminism, and an increasingly visible black feminist agenda were influential dynamics shaping the social backdrop to the film’s debut" (Dunn, Baad Bitches and Sassy Supermamas, pp 85).