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"You're Under Arrest, Sugah!"

Ms. celebrates the "baadasssss supermamas" of 70s blaxploitation movies

In the summer of 1973, Stephane Dunn had a poster on her bedroom wall of 6-foot-2-inch Tamara Dobson in her "Cleopatra Jones" garb-rabbit-fur jacket, red-striped bell-bottoms, big 'fro and an Uzi slung over one shoulder.

"For a black woman like me," writes Dunn in the summer issue of Ms. magazine-available on newsstands 7/28/08-Cleopatra and Coffy (another black woman action hero of the time, played by the iconic Pam Grier) were fantasies come true: beautiful, tough black women tackling real-life problems such as racism, economic oppression and abusive men without relying on anyone but themselves." Such women even made it to TV, as in the short-lived TV series Get Christie Love , in which Officer Love would handcuff suspects with the catchphrase, "You're under arrest, Sugah!"

In her article "In Praise of Baadassss Supermamas," Dunn, a professor at Morehouse College, analyzes the roles women played in '70s "blaxploitation" films, and follows the subsequent nostalgia for, and resurrection of, such women characters (as in the film Jackie Brown , starring Grier). She also suggests what the supermamas of tomorrow might look like: "[She] wouldn't necessarily sling Uzis or wear prostitute disguises, but she could still kick ass with her street smarts or corporate savvy."

Note to editors: Author Stephane Dunn is available for interviews.