John Shaft is the protagonist of (1971), the most iconic of the Blaxploitation films, a genre that emerged and proliferated during a brief hiatus when US film industry was struggling to get people to actually go to the movie theaters, rather than staying at home in front of a TV.
Blaxploitation represents a unique moment in film history, in which Black people were not only seen as the target audience of the films – which in a certain way connected with the tradition of the race pictures  –, but as the sole protagonists.
His coolness allows him to navigate between the brothers and the white establishment, as well as operate independently from the mechanisms of power and control.
Both real and imagined, he’s a superhero made of flesh, bones and especially color – black.
There is no escaping the fact that in the same way that classical Hollywood portrayed Black people as subhuman or inhuman, Blaxploitation movies have shifted their stereotypes to other minorities, specially lesbians and gays .