Influence of Martial Arts in Black American Culture


 jones-1.jpeg Jim Kelly – The First Black Martial Artist

Martial arts films have had a long-lasting impact on black culture in America.  The history of blacks in this country have shown that they continue to encounter racial discrimination, police brutality, unemployment, and the ongoing struggle to obtain equality in a racist system.  This struggle has been going on for 500 years. During the civil rights movement during the 1960s and 1970s, Bruce Lee became a hero to the black community in many ways.  On his journey to becoming the biggest martial arts film star in the world, he suffered a tremendous amount of racism in Hollywood similar to many blacks in America.  The film industry believed that a Chinese-American actor with Oriental features will not get taken seriously.

       “WHO’S THE MASTER?!!!”

However, Bruce Lee proved them wrong and became a worldwide sensation that lives on to this day.  Bruce Lee provided hope among those that did not believe or gave up.  Similar to black people in America, he kept persevering despite the obstacles encountered and overcame them.  Even though Bruce Lee died at only thirty-two years old, he continues to influence future generations with his extraordinary fighting techniques and philosophy on life.

Wesley Snipes in the Art of War

His legacy has greatly influenced pop culture throughout the years, especially in the hip hop and film world.  Some of these films include Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon starring Taimak, Man With The Iron Fists directed by Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, Rudy Ray Moore’s Dolemite, Black Dynamite starring Michael Jai White, Keenan Ivory Wayans I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, Black Belt Jones starring Jim Kellyand The Art of War with Wesley Snipes.  Hip hop artists that are greatly influenced by Bruce Lee are LL Cool J and the Wu-Tang Clan. Black people will continue to be inspired by these films because they can relate to them on a personal level.  Also, it gives them a reason to strive towards doing better in their lives.  Hope is always possible for those that believe in the impossible. Here is a YouTube video featuring “The Glow” from the ’80s cult classic Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon:

About wmckenzie95

I am passionate about travel and learning about other cultures. On my free time, I love to listen to music and watch movies. Some countries that I really want to visit are Japan and France.
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