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WORLD OF HURT – The Thrill-Seekers – Episode 14: “The Duke”
A staple of Blaxploitation movies is the character of “The Pimp.” Thanks to Blaxploitation movies, the word “pimp” usually conjures images of a pencil-thin dandy dressed in bright colors, platform shoes, and dripping in fur and gold. I knew The Thrill-Seekers would have a pimp character, but I wanted to turn those expectations on their head. The Duke is still a coward and manipulator who takes advantage of women, but he’s more understated in his approach. I saw him as a man who happened to be a very good criminal, who enjoyed the opportunities “The Life” created for him, but he nonetheless aspired to be something else. He wanted to be a professional chef, but his opportunities were limited. The Duke’s dilemma, his frustrated aspirations and the choices he made, ultimately became the catalyst for the events of The Thrill-Seekers. In another story, or if we had encountered The Duke at an earlier point in his life, he could easily have been a protagonist in the Blaxploitation milieu, cut from the same cloth as Goldie in The Mack or Rosco Orman in Willie Dynamite.
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