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Old 01-12-2003, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Baltimore, MD, US
Posts: 1,042
Where did the pimp image come from?

Pimps are always (seemingly, at least) portrayed in movies and such in expensive pinstripe (often colorful) suits, a fedora hat with a feather pinned to the side, walking with a cane (usually for cosmetic purposes, not health), and no pimp is without his Rolls Royce/Bentley, fistful of rings, massive ice around the neck, and often a mynx coat to top it all off.

What is the origin of the stereotypical pimp attire? It has a very 40's look, butpimps were probably around for quite a while before the 40's (being the managers of the world's oldest professionals and all). I'm not suprised that pimps would be portrayed as big spenders, but the distinctive qualities (colorful, fedora and feather, cane) seem very distinct. And how often do pimps actually dress like this? (I know that's a tough question, I doubt anyone on the board knows any real pimps). I remember the show Cathouse on HBO had a pimp on it, and I remember watching several documentaries on pimps, but I completely forgot what they were wearing.

proud-walking jingle in the midnight sun
Old 01-12-2003, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: In a fog
Posts: 765
Many years ago my then GF and I were in Venice Beach having lunch. She recognized an old girlfriend from school who came over and joined us. As we were eating and talking this man in his late 40's, early to mid 50's with grey hair and a white short sleeve shirt walked up to our table.

He looked right at this woman and said sternly "Have you found a place to stay yet"? She timidly replied "no". He said "Well get on it" and walked away.

My first thought was this was her probation officer.

My girlfriend and I both said almost in unison "Who was that?"

She replied, "my pimp." I couldn't believe it. He looked NOTHING like the sterotypical pimp.

Anyway, I hope he died and is in hell. He was a prick.
Old 01-12-2003, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Rocky Mountains
Posts: 4,958
Never actually met any pimps in real life.

Have seen some in documentaries. They seem to favor Sansabelt slacks and sport shirts with expensive shoes. Some jewelry, maybe. Nothing real ostentatious, no Mr. T armor, or anything like that.
Old 01-13-2003, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 891
just some guesses:

The 1970's blacksploitation film genre did quite a bit to perpetuate the stereotype.
see: Dolemite
See also: I'm gonna get you sucka (just cause the fly guy winning pimp of the year is hilarious)

my real guess is that the stereotype came from life imitating art imitating life in the movies somewhere.

There probably was one (or a few) that wore such flashy garb, became something of urban heroes due to having lots of cash, and being really flashy with it; got represented somewhere in the media, and the cycle began there.

Ice T was a pimp before he was a rapper and way before he started playing the character "Ice T" in movies and TV shows.
Old 01-13-2003, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,236
See, pimpin' is big buisiness. It's been goin' on since the beginning of time and its gonna continue straight ahead until someone turns the lights out on this small planet. Dig it?
From the classic film "The Mack". Hear the audio clip here. It's the one labeled "The most profound monologue on pimping that has ever existed".

DaLovin' Dj
Old 01-13-2003, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 891
did some research...

there was a movie that came out a couple of years ago called
"American pimp"
by the guys who made "menace (roman numeral 2) society" It sounds like it explores the media's exploitation of the stereotype,

anyone seen it?
Old 01-13-2003, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,236
Great flick. My favorite part? A pimp describes how some of the mothers of the women he pimped out thanked him for keeping them off of welfare. I'm sure.

The movie starts with a montage of random people who were asked what they thought of pimps. They get a seriously bad rap, and then the movie goes on to show you that some of these people are really quite likeable and not all bad. In the end, at least for me, it was obvious that it is a dangerous and sad lifestyle, but not so black and white of an issue as the moral majority would tell you.

Basically, pimps are people too. I highly reccomend that film.

DaLovin' Dj
Old 01-13-2003, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Playground of the Damned
Posts: 6,027
You don't know pimpin' lest you know Iceberg Slim's Pimp: The Story of My Life.

I'll check his fine opus tonight for confirmation, but I believe Iceberg explains that an opulent display of finery is one way of advertising to the ladies that he has the financial ability to take care of them.

Why the ladies fail to infer that he's spending their hard earned green on his own duds is something I'll probably need to re-read the book to properly explain.
Old 01-13-2003, 08:08 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Posts: 11,445
Moderator's Note: Well, it doesn't seem to be a debate. It's almost a general question, but I don't know that it's likely to be given a factual answer. Of course I'm really tempted to move it to In My Humble Opinion, simply by virtue of the standard abbreviation for that forum.

However, since the thread seems to be about the pimp image, which is as much about artistic or literary depictions of pimps as it is about reality, I'll send this to Cafe Society.
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