In 1969, NFL star Fred Williamson — called the Hammer for his defensive moves — left football for Hollywood and became a head-busting king of '70s blaxploitation flicks. Today, Williamson, 65, is an independent producer-director, ruler of his own direct-to-video movie empire and, he says, still the man. On Jan. 20, MGM released a couple of his early masterpieces, Hammer and Hell up in Harlem, along with several other blaxploitation films, on DVD. Here, TV Guide Online tries to nail Williamson — but the Hammer hits back.
TV Guide Online: You don't like the term blaxploitation?Fred Williamson: I could never understand [it.] At the time I was making my films, Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood were making theirs. No one dubbed them whitexploitation. So what did it mean? Who was being exploited? All the black actors were being paid more money than they ever were before, playing characters we respected. Audie