Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp

Iceberg Slim smoking pipe.jpg


Jorge Hinojosa | USA 2012 | 90mins. | Print Source: Phase 4 Films

When Iceberg Slim published Pimp: The Story of My Life in 1969, he launched a potent and unusual literary career, influencing an audience that ranged from artists to street hustlers. The book dazzled with raw language that evoked a life experience different from the worlds of black writers such as James Baldwin or Ralph Ellison. Pimp sold nearly two million copies and was distributed internationally in translation. Slim’s output continued with bestsellers Trick Baby (made into a film), Mama Black Widow (taking on the taboo topic of black homosexuality), and a collection of essays The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim. Yet when Slim died in 1992, much remained unknown about his life and what aspects of his writing were facts versus fiction.

Director Jorge Hinojosa (longtime manager of Ice-T) tells this story with a visual verve that draws upon pulp fiction iconography matched with biographical skills attuned to complexities and contradictions. Years in the making, the film includes archival footage of Slim along with interviews with his friends, colleagues, and famous admirers such as Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones and Ice-T. (Thom Powers, TIFF)

Watch a lively interview with director Jorge Hinojosa and famous admirer Ice-T about the film: