I interrupt my normal postings to pay my respects to one of the original Blaxploitation Queens, Tamara Dobson, better known as the inimitable Cleopatra Jones, who passed away Monday at the young age of 59. If you've see any decent blaxploitation movie spoof, you know that it's not legit without a charactrer like Cleopatra Jones. Even Beyonce spoofed her in one of those Austin Power's joints when she fronted as 'Foxy Cleopatra'. As the poster glossy made clear - ol girl Cleopatra Jones was 'Ten miles of bad road for every hood in town!' Tamara's imposing 6' 2" frame was enough to intimidate any wayward homey and, though she couldn't give Pam Grier's Foxy Brown a run for her money (in my opinion), she carved a nice character niche out for herself and clearly created a blaxploitation icon for the ages...
This glossy pretty much sums up Tamara's unique appeal to both old school as well as biddy-bop homeys who were just coming up when Tamara and Pam and Teresa Graves and Diahann Carroll and Denise Nicholas (ahhh, Denise Nicholas...) and the rest were coming up. Side note: Man, you just can't look at a picture of Redd Foxx without cracking up - I don't care what role that brother was playin'.
The southside lights are a little dimmer with this news, y'all. It's not like we're just chock full of entertainment luminaries but without determined sisters like Tamara and the shortys listed above, people would be going Halle Who?, Alfre Who?, Whoopie Who? - y'all get my drift. So sleep well, TD - we appreciate you and will miss you. Thanks for the memories, homegirl.