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Wham! bam! Here comes Pam!


Sex symbol honored with coffee shop                                    

She teased the libido of inner city adolescence in the 1970s, and quite a few outside the ghetto as well. One of her admirers, celebrated film auteur Quentin Tarantino recently paid an homage to celluloid muse Pam Grier with the opening of a Los Feliz coffee shop, aptly titled Pam’s Coffy.

Grier paved the way for generations of female actresses to challenge the male power structure in financially lucrative Blaxploitation movies like “Sheba, Baby,” “Foxy Brown,” and “Coffy.” Along the way, she became the cultural manifestation of the ideas propagated by feminism activists and theorists Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Lee, and Gloria Steinem. She heralded the beginning of an era of empowerment in which the damsel in distress would no longer wait for Prince Charming to save them. Along the way she was romantically linked to celebrities such as music impresario Don Cornelius, NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and comedians Richard Pryor and Freddie Prinze.

Grier’s influence has transcended Black culture, stimulated the aesthetic juices of directors Tim Burton (1996’s “Mars Attacks”) and Tarantino, who repurposed Elmore Leonard’s 1992 novel “Rum Punch” into a film adaptation specifically for her. The book’s White heroine was recast as Black in 1997’s “Jackie Brown,”which earned her a Golden Globes nomination.

Tarantino’s latest shrine to this icon of feminine empowerment is located adjacent to his 100 year old art house cinema at the Vista Theatre. It is a shrine to the woman Tarantino dubs the first female action star offering custom-blend coffee including the provocatively named Bold Black Mamba, Cap’n Crunch and other retro cereals, and an assortment of pastries. Other features include vintage bottles of soda pop and a scaled-down video booth nook with a VHS player.

Also on hand are an assortment of star-related paraphernalia, such as tee-shirts, totes, and yellow mugs emblazoned with the actress’s likeness.

With over 100 credits on her IMDb account, Pamela Suzette Grier presently lives in seclusion on a ranch in Colorado, while venturing out periodically to participate in motion pictures, television, and voice over roles.

Located at 4473 Sunset Drive between East Hollywood and Los Feliz, Pam’s Coffy is open between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Sunday.