Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Melvin Van Peebles

MELVIN VAN PEEBLES established his legacy not only as the iconoclastic founding father of modern African American cinema but black Broadway theater as well, producing, writing, directing, and sometimes even acting in his groundbreaking endeavors. Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, his first American musical, was hailed as one of the best Broadway theater pieces of the 1971–72 season, and his film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) became legendary. He has been equally prolific across several media as a novelist, musician, and composer—and, quixotically, was the first black American to hold a seat on the American Stock Exchange. His numerous achievements include the French Legion of Honor, the 1999 Chicago Underground Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award, several Tony Award nominations, a Grammy Award nomination, and a Gotham Award from MOMA and the Independent Feature Project in December 2008. Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha is his latest book. He lives in New York City.