You Won’t Bleed Me: How Blaxploitation Posters Defined Cool & Delivered Profits

September 2, 2021–February 6, 2022

For years, the term “Blaxploitation” has been used derisively to dismiss or caricature a bygone era of low-budget Black cinema—but it was and is so much more.

It was its own genre—one that provided a rare opportunity for Black men and women to be heroic, strong, cool, sexy, and, most importantly, to win on the big screen after decades with either little or demeaning representation. Struggling major studios in the 1970s also relied on these films to stay afloat, and they found mainstream success thanks to their charismatic stars and unforgettable soundtracks.

A crucial part of marketing these films (which were released roughly between 1970 and 1979) was their larger-than-life posters. The bigger the guns and more sultry the sirens, the better. These posters promised and delivered an excitement all their own, and have since become irresistible collectables for connoisseurs of Black cinema. This exhibit honors the impact of Blaxploitation and its contemporary resonance.


Adam Howard is a Senior Associate Producer at the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee show. He is also a co-creator and Executive Producer of the Full Release with Samantha Bee podcast. Prior to his career in late night comedy, he spent several years as a journalist, writing about pop culture and politics for The Daily Beast, Playboy, NBC News, and The Nation. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism and studied film history and screenwriting at Bard College. In his spare time, he illustrates his own alternative movie posters and resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his wife Elizabeth Rosado and their dog Cookie.

This collection comes to Poster House through a generous loan from Mathieu Bitton.


Selected Images

photo offset poster of a woman in a body suit holding a gun against a yellow background
Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold, 1975
Robert Tanenbaum
photo offset poster of a man in a tuxedo firing a double barrel gun. below him, vignettes of sexy women and fights fill the page
Slaughter, 1972
George Akimoto
photo offset poster of a man in a white fur coat, glasses, a broad rimmed hat and a cane against an orange background
The Mack, 1973
Fred Pfeiffer
photo offset poster of a woman in a pink bra and yellow pants holding a large gun. below her are vignettes of action and sexy scenes in the movie
Coffy, 1973
George Akimoto