ICEBERG SLIM: PORTRAIT OF A PIMP (59' & 85')
DIRECTED BY JORGE HINOJOSA
PRODUCED BY ICE-T
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"Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp intrigues and
"...is a richly crafted documentary that taps deep
into the lurid fascination of its subject"
"a fascinating, complex account of the criminal turned
best-selling author's life"
"Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp?
examines the tumultuous life of Iceberg Slim (1918-1992)
and how he reinvented himself from pimp to author of 7
groundbreaking books. Born Robert Maupin, Iceberg Slim was
the first black author to write about the dynamics of
inner-city street life, specifically his 35+ year
involvement in pimping and crime. Born into abject poverty
in Chicago near the end of the First World War, Iceberg's
early life was fraught with physical and mental abuse and
a temptation and fascination with crime.
At the early age of 6, Slim first became enamored with
street life, ?My mother had a beauty shop and she catered
to a colony of black hookers and pimps. I wanted to become
a pimp so I could have all those beautiful clothes,
diamonds and women, that?s how i got street poisoned?. The
young Iceberg also witnessed his mother destroy their
happy home when she decided to run off with a con man who
physically abused Iceberg and made her an accomplice in
his crimes then promptly dumped her.
At 20, while locked up for grand theft, he incessantly
fantasized about being a pimp and learned as much as he
could about the ?art form? while incarcerated. Released at
21 years old he ?cops? his first whore and moves back to
Chicago to pimp.
Over the next 20 years, Iceberg pimped non stop and had
many ups and downs; he became addicted to drugs and had
repeated run-ins with the law that resulted in a total of
7 years of incarceration. At 29, during his second to last
incarceration, Slim was able to escape. He pimped for 13
more years before being recaptured in 1960 and placed in
solitary confinement at the Cook County House of
Corrections. It was then that he finally decided to
"square up." After his last release from jail, at the age
of 42 Iceberg gave up his elicit lifestyle and moved to
California to reconcile with his ailing mother.
Tragically, she passed just 6 months after their
After his mother died, Slim began documenting his
first-hand knowledge of living as a pimp and hustler
through a series of 7 ground breaking books. Without the
benefit of formal training or an editor, Iceberg?s books
are both gripping and brilliantly lyrical. Each one is
different from the next and shows a unique and first hand
perspective of inner city life. When published the books
were the 1st of their kind and were widely popular in the
black community. Holloway House, the publisher, estimates
over 6 million copies have been sold to date. The books
cultural impact is also impresive, before their printing
there had not been any commercially creative expression of
black street life. In the subsequent years after their
release, hundreds of black crime books exploded onto the
scene and their popularity soared. This was followed by
Blaxploitation movies, and finally gangster rap, all of
which could be considered the offspring of Iceberg Slim
and his successors. The books also have had a tremendous
impact on the creative community, as examples, Ice T
adapted Iceberg?s name to create his own moniker and
credits Iceberg as being the father of Gangster rap.
Scores of rappers like Jay-Z reference Iceberg Slim in
their lyrics and comedian Dave Chappelle, often talks
about Iceberg in his stand-up routines.