TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH I had never heard of her until Digable Planets' first single, when Mecca said:
Ask Butta how I zone
and Butterfly replied
Man, Cleopatra Jones
The year was 1992 and I wanted to be Cool Like Dat! Whatever dat was. And ya know I had to find out. So, I went to the Wesley Chapel Blockbuster, found the blaxploitation section and bam! Right there between Coffey and Shaft, there she was, 38-26-39:
I popped in the video cassette, and I was immediately souled.
I mean, how could you not love a woman who stood 6 -foot plus and had the nerve to sport 4-inch platform heels? Ow! Who could casually Kung Fu kick The Man without even needing to retouch her lipstick. Shonuff! Who before Foxy, before Coffey, before Christy, broke the blaxploitation gender barrier - before anybody had heard of a Charlie or an Angel. All in a day's work, baby. Bam!
Earlier this week, Tamara Dobson made her transition due to complications from MS, but during her life, in her no nonsense glory, the real woman martial artist behind Cleopatra Jones was a true shero. Face of Revlon, Chanel, and Faberge, she made being Black proud, unapologetic, and downright bad!
So, here's to standing up and standing out. Scram all you jive suckas. This space is to honor the life of a graceful and true Black beauty, a pioneer.
Rest in Peace