‘Like Netflix, Only Blacker’: Brown Sugar Blaxploitation-Movie Subscription VOD Service Launches

Todd Spangler
Variety

Can you dig it? Blaxploitation films have a new digital home.

African-American network Bounce TV is jumping into the subscription VOD biz with Brown Sugar, a $3.99-per-month service with mostly ’70s-era blaxploitation films including “Shaft,” “Foxy Brown,” “Super Fly,” “Cleopatra Jones,” “Blacula” and “The Mack.”

At launch, Brown Sugar has 111 movie titles. A rep said several hundred additional titles, for which the company has already obtained streaming rights from studios, will be added in the months ahead.

The service is “a black explosion of hot chicks, cool cats and cult classics,” according to Bounce TV, which is promoting Brown Sugar with the tagline “like Netflix, only blacker.” The new SVOD offering joins a growing wave of niche-focused streaming services that have emerged over the past few years, designed to cater to fanbases of specific genres.

Bounce TV has enlisted two legends of the genre — Pam Grier (“Foxy Brown,” “Coffy,” “Black Mama/White Mama”) and Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (“Black Caesar,” “Three The Hard Way,” “Hammer”) — as paid spokespeople for Brown Sugar, along with rap artist and producer Rick Ross.

“These movies are entertaining and fun, but they were also empowering to the black community as they depicted African-Americans as strong leading characters and heroes for the first time,” Grier said in a statement.

Rick Ross commented, “You can see the influence of these movies in every aspect of rap and hip-hop; in the music, the lyrics, the fashion and overall style — the blaxploitation genre is where it all began.”

Movies on Brown Sugar are all unedited and commercial-free. The lineup includes “The Mack,” “Foxy Brown,” “Shaft,” “Super Fly,” “Dolemite,” “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” “Uptown Saturday Night,” “Cooley High,” “Three The Hard Way,” “Coffy,” “Black Caesar,” “Five on the Black Hand Side,” “Cleopatra Jones,” “Mandingo,” “Willie Dynamite,” “Which Way is Up?”, “Car Wash” and “The Original Gangstas.”

Brown Sugar is available for smartphones and tablets in Apple’s iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store and on the web at brownsugar.com. The service offers a one-month free trial period for subscribers with a retail price of $3.99 per month thereafter.

Brown Sugar groups films into themed collections such as War in Harlem (“Cotton Comes to Harlem,” “The Black Godfather,” “Across 110th Street”), Foxy Mamas (“Foxy Brown,” “Coffy,” “Cleopatra Jones,” “Friday Foster,” “Sheba Baby”), Righteous Revenge (“Dolemite,” “Black Caesar,” “Hell Up in Harlem,” “Hammer”), Stickin’ it to The Man (“The Mack,” “Black Gunn,” “Three the Hard Way”) and Jive-Ass Turkeys (“I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” “Car Wash,” “Uptown Saturday Night”).

Atlanta-based Bounce TV, a multicast TV network distributed in markets across the U.S., was founded by Martin Luther King III and Georgia politician Andrew Young.

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