Melvin Van Peebles was a true badass, and dressed the part. By personally funding and also writing, producing, scoring, directing, and starring in the huge hit Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song in 1971, Van Peebles ushered in, for better or worse, the blaxploitation genre, which put swagger and flyness on the national platform - a style pioneered by the man.

Van Peebles was the first certified movie star who got there by directly taking on The Man. Huey P. Newton loved the film, and made it required viewing for all Black Panthers. Van Peebles combined a black militant look with a smooth funkiness, providing a jumping-off point for much of black fashion of the decade.