How did I discover Ganja and Hess? Early on, the title captivated me. Ganja and Hess? What was it all about? What a strange title for a blaxploitation film; it didn’t even have the word “Black” in it! I had forgotten about the film for a while and then, oddly enough, an episode of The Cosby Show (like you’ve never watched it) reintroduced me to the film’s director, Bill Gunn. It turns out he had a recurring role on the show as one of Cliff Huxtable’s poker buddies. So, Bill Gunn was a Black actor who directed a “blaxploitation” film in the early 1970s. I began reading more and more about the film and discovered it had at least five titles. I began searching under the various titles (Black Evil, Black Out, Black Vampire, etc) and came up empty-handed. While browsing for DVDs and not looking for anything in particular, a strange image appeared in my peripheral vision. As I moved closer to examine the artwork, I discovered the picture was dominated by one large face with smaller images concentrated around it. An African woman, a conjurer, lurked on the bottom of the image focused on her magic. This was Ganja and Hess! If the cover was any indication (as you dusty-fingered fellows have yourselves experienced), I was in for a treat.
To read the entire essay check:http://waxpoetics.com/issues/issue_7/