Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these
movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. Here are a trio of films which explore the difficulty of being black in America, and pose responses to that difficulty in varying scenarios.
Blast! is the 1976 retitling of the 1972 blaxploitation film, The Final Comedown. Seeing the confrontation between black radicals and the cops may put you in mind of today’s headlines. However, in the movie both sides are shooting, not just one. Billy Dee Williams stars in it, and additional footage of him was shot for the re-release.
How about a wine made by a black winemaker? Theodora Lee owns and operates Theopolis Vineyards in Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. Ms. Lee makes a dandy Pinot Noir, but try one of her several Petite Sirah wines, right around $40.
Melvin Van Peebles pretty much started the blaxploitation genre singlehandedly with 1971’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” It seems he worked himself too hard, doing the acting, directing, editing, scoring and producing all by himself. He must have fallen asleep at the typewriter to wind up with all those extra letters in the title.
He wore out his knuckles knocking on doors while looking to gather up the financing for the film. The checkbooks of white Hollywood wouldn’t open for what was intended to be the first Black Panther film. Bill Cosby ponied up the cash, back when it was still okay to take money from Bill Cosby. Sweet Sweetback was born of black America, and made for black America.
When choosing a wine to go with Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, we should follow the “opposites” rule of wine pairing. It’s a salty movie, so look to a sweet wine. A vintage Port will match up nicely with the story that’s anything but sweet. Graham’s or Taylor’s both make excellent Port wines.
Spike Lee, in 2018, told the real-life story of a black Colorado cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Ron Stallworth was the only person of color on the force, and he posed as white on the phone to fool every Klan member from the bottom to the top.
Underscoring the precarious relationship between blacks and the police, he gets beaten by cops even though he is one of them. It’s hard out there for a black cop who buddies up to Grand Wizard David Duke. Not so hard, though, that he doesn’t eliminate a few klansmen and take down a racist cop in the process. Too bad Duke was still standing after the smoke cleared.
There was a beer being sold by a Swedish company as a satire against racism. The white sheet packaging was not seen as funny by a lot of people, so Yellow Belly Beer has been pulled from shelves. So, the wine pairing. The Klan would doubtless want only a white wine at their event, so let’s paint it black and try one that’s really dark.
Syrah is often blessed with the deepest, darkest color of any red wine. Washington state’s Alexandria Nicole Cellars has a Jet Black Syrah which will do nicely for BlacKKKlansman.