jim kelly died one year ago today

Actor and martial artist Jim Kelly left us last year on this day. It would’ve been massively cool to have Kelly around for the 40th anniversary of the film Three the Hard Way, which was three days ago.


three the hard way movie poster


Complaints about the shortage of positive Black images in film have been around for decades, and while 70’s Blaxploitation movies were considered messengers of racial pride, some would also complain that positioning a drug dealer as a hero doesn’t work well as a platform for emulative imagery. I understand that argument, and I’m no fan of drug dealers either, but I think that line of reasoning misses a larger point. I’ll get into that some other day…

jim kelly in 'three the hard way' movie


Even if Three the Hard Way‘s camerawork and acting stopped some of you from watching the film in its entirety,  many others saw the characters of Jim Kelly, Jim Brown, and Fred Williamson as rarely-seen Black action heroes who arguably saved America from its on-screen itself. The hero recipe hooked young audiences hard.

Plus, Jim Kelly’s karate skills didn’t hurt the movie one bit. Watch this scene where he takes on some crooked cops

song currently stuck in my head: “visions” – luis gasca

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