Featuring an outstanding score by composer Curtis Mayfield, Superfly remains one of the most famous blaxploitation films.
Although clearly inspired by Sweetback, and intended to capitalize on its success, blaxploitation films like The Mack and Superfly watered down its theme so as to appeal to a wider, mixed-race audience. The Black Panther spirit was largely replaced by humour and generic sex and violence, and the political passion in these later films was noticeably less fervent. The films themselves proved hugely divisive in the black community. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People condemned them as destructive and degrading and it was, in fact, the NAACP that first coined the term 'blaxploitation' to define what they perceived to be the exploitation of black people. On the other hand, the Black Panther movement made Sweetback compulsory viewing for all its new recruits. Ever since its emergence, opinion has remained divided as to whether blaxploitation ultimately empowered or repressed black America.